Teachers at Scottsboro Junior High School will receive training this summer in preparation for the implementation of a more vigorous curriculum for their students beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year. The Scottsboro School System is one of only seven schools in the state that received the grant to participate in the Middle School Training and Incentive Pilot Program.
Scottsboro Junior High School Principal Carrie Myers is excited about this opportunity for her students. She and Assistant Superintendent Amy Childress worked hard to obtain this grant once they received support of the teachers who will be involved in the implementation of this new rigorous curriculum for their students in grades sixth through eighth.
Myers has previously been involved in the A+ College Ready Program and sees this as a great opportunity for her students. She said that the training the teachers will receive this summer will be vital in getting this program started.
Prior to the approval of the grant, she had received 100 % approval and support of her faculty for the program. The SJHS teachers along with the sixth grade teachers from Collins Intermediate School will participate in a four day training process this summer in preparation for the program in the 2020-2021 academic year.
“This is streamline for us,” said Childress. “It offers the best possible pathway for our students. It will raise the bar to what we expect.”
“Everything in the training is relevant,” added Myers.
This pilot program comes at an opportune time since new standards for the math curriculum were recently passed by the State of Alabama Board of Education. Implementation of this new program is based on meeting the students where they are and moving them ahead. She said that her teachers are excited about this program as are the sixth grade teachers.
Prior to applying for the grant, Myers presented the vigorous campaign to her teachers. She said she got the enthusiasm from her faculty to move ahead with the grant. All teachers of the core subjects will be involved in this new program so they will have each other to lean on as they work with this program.
Myers said this program is transformative. “It is overwhelming and changed the way that I teach,” she added. “It is the best thing that I have ever done.”
Myers said that this will be a great opportunity for all of the students at SJHS. The teachers will have each other to lean on as they work with the new more rigorous curriculum next year. “This is huge for the middle school students,” stated Myers. “It will open the door for many more opportunities for these students.”
The students in grades six through eight in the Scottsboro City School System join with a group of students from a small group across the state that were chosen to participate in this exciting new program.
“This will expose our students to higher rigor,” said Childress. “All of our students will be exposed to this more rigorous curriculum.”
One of the benefits of the new program is having a common language for the subjects. It will allow the teachers to go deeper into their particular subject while covering the standards needed for the next level.
This program should help students become better problem solvers and more critical thinkers. One of the benefits will be that the score on the ACT test should increase which will provide more academic scholarships for those pursuing a higher education. It will help all of the students regardless of the route they choose.
“This is game changing for us,” added Childress. She cannot hide her enthusiasm for the program which will level the playing field for both the teachers and students. She hopes this will lead to increased enrollment in the advanced classes and dual enrollment classes at the high school. It should also have more students making better scores.
This pilot program not only provides training for the teachers, but it gives them the tools they need to implement the curriculum. Everything the teachers will need from novels in the English class to tools for the math class is provided through this grant.
Parents of these students can expect their children to be involved in a more rigorous curriculum regardless of their academic standing. It will take the students where they are and move them ahead. The students will be learning the subject matter and developing more critical thinking skills needed for any job they may have in the future. Parents are encouraged to focus on the learning of their children rather than the letter grade they may receive.
The teachers will be following a pacing guide which will ensure that all students are moving along to the same end. The guides will be subject specific so that all students in that subject will be exposed to the same material.
Teachers will retain their own individual methods on how the material is implemented but they will not have to worry about gathering materials. They will be provided with what they need for their subject area.
The A+ College Ready Curriculum is a springboard which provides teachers with the curriculum tools and pedagogical strategies to raise and maintain high academic expectations in their classrooms. It is a more rigorous curriculum which will benefit all students at all levels.
Materials provided will up the rigor in these classes while using a different approach to learning. The pacing guides will help teachers stay on track and ensure that all students receive the same materials.
Myers is in her first year as principal at SJHS but has many years in the education field. In addition to being the assistant superintendent for city schools, Childress is also in charge of curriculum and instruction and federal programs. They are both looking forward to working with the pilot program and excited about the opportunities for Scottsboro students. Everyone will be involved from the administration to counselors to the classroom teachers so there is a built-in support system.