Skaneateles schools considers new class offerings

The Skaneateles School District will look into new academic offerings to give its students more options and further prepare them for college.

Curriculum coordinators Margie Culkowski and Brian Cohen gave a presentation on the possibility of the district offering regents Earth Science to eight graders, at the Dec. 2 board of education meeting.

Currently all eight grade students take “Science 8” and all ninth grade students take Regents Earth science. Under the proposed new sequence, students would be able to take five high school-level science courses in five years. The change would also necessitate that the district start offering AP biology and AP chemistry in alternating years. The current class of AP biology only has six students.

The district already offers “accelerated” classes for its middle school math curriculum that allows students to enter high school ahead of normal pace, adding this option would also allow for an accelerated science curriculum, Culkowksi said.

The new accelerated science sequence would be offered to students based on grades and teacher recommendations, though students can also request to be enrolled without a recommendation.

Since Earth science requires students to have a lab period every other day, some students would need to give up a study hall period or choose between taking Earth science in eight grade and taking two out of the three music classes (band, orchestra and chorus) which also meet every other day.

The district is only one of four in the region that doesn’t already offer this option, Cohen said.

The district will also look at adding AP statistics and physics 2 as new offerings in the future.

AP statistics typically attracts a more diverse group of students than a typical math course would, Interim Superintendent of Schools Judy Pastel said.

In other business:

—Pastel made a presentation on proposed strategies for 2013 through 2016 to achieve the district’s vision. The district vision is: “We will become a school district of choice in CNY, the state, and nation by creating bold futures for all, with unparalleled excellence in academics, arts, and athletics, one student at a time.”

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