UNION — During Monday’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees, Instructional Coordinator Tabitha Talley spoke to the board regarding updates to middle school academic programs, and Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley spoke regarding updates to programs at the Career and Technology (CATE) Center.
Talley explained that keyboarding classes had raised many parents’ concerns. She said there were a large number of failing grades and numerous students were staying after school to catch up on classwork. After looking into the class requirements, the district found the class was placing a large emphasis on typing speed, which was not the intent of the state. The state department as well as other districts were contacted, and it was found that local students were above average. Talley said a new syllabus and grade scale has been created.
She also pointed out that keyboarding will now be offered to sixth graders, and the goal is to eventually move keyboarding classes to elementary schools.
Talley also discussed honors curriculum, mentioning that advanced math classes will begin full honors common core curriculum next year. Teachers in middle school honors courses are being asked to keep a portfolio to show how the rigor of honors classes differs from that of regular classes. For example, teachers should be able to show the difference between seventh grade ELA and seventh grade ELA Honors.
Talley also mentioned that the district is currently awaiting the results of a STEM grant for which it applied through Timken.
Langley also spoke regarding the goal of pushing keyboarding classes down further — to students in lower grade levels. She said a representative from the state visited to look at the facility and equipment at the CATE center, and he assisted in calculating how soon changes could be implemented. It was determined that two courses could be added to the curriculum — in addition to the current Integrated Business Applications (IBA) class — which would qualify as computer literacy courses, as one computer literacy course is required for graduation.
The two additional classes will be Digital Media Marketing and Digital Imaging. Langley said CATE Center Director Kevin Morrow reported 15 students are interested in Digital Media Marketing — enough for one class — and 34 students are interested in Digital Imaging — enough for two classes.