Elementary programming changes on the horizon for Stillwater Area Schools

Changes are coming to the elementary school programming in Stillwater Area Schools after the board approved the changes unanimously at March 13.
The proposed changes are part of the Bridge to Excellence plan and were created with expert advice, as well as parent and staff committee input.
In 2014-2015 changes will include: Adding art instruction to the school day in all nine elementary schools, adding intervention/enrichment PICK (passion, innovation, curiosity and knowledge) time to the school day, increase time for music, physical education and media.
“PICK Time” blocks of time will also be added to each week to focus on what each child needs most, whether it’s intervention to help him or her catch up or enrichments to challenge a child further. PICK Time allows students to explore an area of passion while at the same time receiving personalized support to address their unique learning needs.
These new initiatives will be supported with a six-day rotating schedule.
Changes coming in 2015-2016 include: developing a world language/global studies program and reinventing the media program and space for 21st century learning.
The changes also include a new rotating schedule when it comes to specialists and increased time spent with those specialists according to Executive Director of Elementary Schools Malinda Lansfeldt. This specialist time will take place at the same time for each grade to allow teachers to have prep time and schedule team meetings during that time if necessary.
“The rotating schedule will be great for students,” Lansfeldt said. “They will get increased time in these classes, and since the schedule rotates, if we have a winter like this one no one will miss out on their favorite classes.”
The rotating schedule will include music, gym, media and art classes. Each class will be 40 minutes long.
Art program improvements include:
• Providing licensed art teachers.
• Providing an equitable supply of art materials and space for schools.
• Creating and implementing art standards, curriculum, scope and sequence.
PICK time allows students to take the time to get the help that they need if necessary instead of pulling them out of other classes, or provides them with more time to explore things they would like to look into further to pursue their passions.
For the next year World Language implementation will be looked into further. Lansfeldt said that further definition of what it means to have language acquisition is needed and that once implemented, it may affect the current scheduling in place and may be co-taught. A recommendation on the world language issue is expected early next school year.

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

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