East Williston schools seek to better integrate math, science

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East Williston school district officials are looking to tweak high school computer science and math programs to make the district’s curriculum more cohesive.

Officials are considering changes to the college-level Advanced Placement computer science class at the Wheatley School that would align it with Project Lead the Way, a science and technology initiative the district has implemented in grades nine through 12, school Superintendent Elaine Kanas said.

They are also evaluating changes to the eighth-grade math research program to align it with other research initiatives in the district, Kanas said.

“We’ve always had research initiatives. Now we’re just trying to bring it into cohesiveness with all academia so that children are learning across academics with all available tools,” said Mark Kamberg, the East Williston school board president.

The possible changes come as part of the district’s annual review of the five-year strategic plan, now in its fourth year, Kanas said. The review aims to incorporate new programs, initiatives or regulations into the plan, she said.

The new AP computer science program focuses more on software engineering than the current course, Kanas said. That would bring it more in line with Project Lead the Way, a high school initiative that focuses on engineering, she said.

“What we’ve done over the past couple of years is to look at our computer science strand and our engineering strand so that they could either support each other … or they could support students who want to go on and do more of a computer sequence,” Kanas said.

The district may also expand its math research program or better align it with Wheatley’s science research program and its Advanced Placement capstone course, a research-intensive class that is being tested this year, Kanas said.

For example, the capstone course may include a math component in the future, Kanas said.

Bringing the research programs together would help students connect skills across subject areas to make them more academically successful, Kamberg said.

”You just no longer read and write in English [classes] anymore,” he said. “… It’s part of science, it’s part of social studies, it’s part of math.”

District officials plan to finalize adjustments to the strategic plan by the spring so they can update their instructional goals and teacher training programs accordingly, Kanas said.

By Noah Manskar

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