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County school board approves new curriculum, addresses concerns after Johns Hopkins study

Graphic+by+Alex+Silber.
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County school board approves new curriculum, addresses concerns after Johns Hopkins study

Graphic by Alex Silber.

Graphic by Alex Silber.

Graphic by Alex Silber.

Graphic by Alex Silber.

By Zara Ali

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The Board of Education adopted a new curriculum for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade English, Language Arts and Mathematics Jan. 8. Select elementary and middle schools will start implementing the new curriculum—which provides more instructional materials for parents and teachers—as early as fall 2019.

MCPS will spend $12.4 million over the next three years on new textbooks, online materials and accessible resources for parents and teachers, BOE president Shebra Evans said.

The new curriculum will specifically change pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade math, middle school math and the middle school English language arts curriculum.

Bannockburn, Bethesda and Wood Acres will adopt the new English Literacy curricula, Bradley Hills and Burning Tree will adopt the Mathematics curricula and Pyle will adopt the new middle school curricula.

The Board began looking for new curriculum options after the release of a Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy report in March 2018, which found the current self made curriculum did not meet federal Common Core standards that had been adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education. The board finalized a curriculum after extensively analyzing 34 different proposals from different publishing companies and non-profit organizations.

“We had a variety of stakeholders that helped us narrow down our selection,” Evans said. “We wanted to make certain that it was a curriculum that could handle the size of our system and meet the needs of the populations that we are serving— including advanced learners, students that are English learners and students that are responsive to the material it had.”

A new high school curriculum is not yet final. It will depend on the results of the implementation of the new curriculum among elementary and middle schools, director of MCPS secondary curriculum Scott Murphy said.

Bannockburn, Bethesda and Wood Acres will adopt the new English Literacy curricula, Bradley Hills and Burning Tree will adopt the Mathematics curricula and Pyle will adopt the new middle school curricula.

The whole curriculum will be phased in over the course of three years.

“The hope is that we are able to provide the best instruction for students to be successful,” Evans said. “This is targeting early learners, our elementary and middle school students.”

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Zara Ali, News Writer

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