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Hall talks curriculum

Building progress is on schedule

SPRING VALLEY — Curriculum changes are coming to Hall High School.

Science teachers Nicky Barto, Rob Malerk and Bettianne Harrison presented information to the board about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) also known as Common Core Science to the Hall High School Board on Wednesday evening.

Barto explained the standards were adopted in the summer of 2013 and are performance standards for all students. The Next Generation Science Standards cover the areas of life science, physical science, earth and space science, plus engineering and technology.

The NGSS are aligned to the Common Core State Standards. When students are learning about science, they are also enhancing their skills in reading, writing and math.

The science department has recently visited two schools to get ideas for their new science rooms and STEM Lab, but as a result, they decided it was time to align the science curriculum at Hall High School to the new standards.

“We are designing rooms to last 50-60 years in the new building, and we decided to update our curriculum as well,” Barto said.

Incoming freshmen will have the choice of following one of three tiers of science classes: Academic, college/career, honors. Classes will be tailored to meet the needs of each group of students.

The board approved the adoption of the new science courses. Classes will be added each year until the transition has been completed.

The board also adopted honors English and honors U.S. history courses for the 2014-15 school year.

Superintendent Mike Struna gave an update on the board’s Vision 2015 Plan which is being implemented to create a “pathway to success for all students.” The main idea of this plan is to provide college and career readiness for the students at Hall High School.

In January of their sophomore year, all students will declare a pathway, either career or college, and create a plan to get them to their goals.

“This will get kids to focus on their future,” Struna said.

Many new classes such as accounting, business marketing and welding, to name a few, have been added to help students on their path to a career. The board is also wanting to send additional students to the Area Career Center in the fall.

The board heard a construction update from Tony Orlandi of Leopardo Construction.

Bid Package No. 3, comprising approximately 52 percent of the project, is currently out for bid. Bids are expected to be awarded on March 19. This bid package includes fire protection, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, masonry, steel, windows, doors and roofing.

Mass excavation concluded in late January as scheduled. The building pad has been completed. Vissering Construction has started initial layouts for concrete foundation work, which is scheduled to be begin this week. This work is scheduled for 35 working days.

“The project is currently meeting its budget, schedule, and performance goals,” Orlandi said.

In other business:

• The board approved a holiday waiver which allows students to attend school on Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln’s birthday, Casmir Pulaski’s birthday, Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day. If you attend school on any of these dates, students must be taught a lesson about the reason for the holiday. A school district is required to host a public hearing if they are going to continue to utilize this calendar modification.

• Struna provided information to the board about how the Firearm Concealed Carry Act affects school districts. A person must be 21 years old to be issued a permit. It is illegal to carry a concealed firearm on school property even if you have a permit. Schools must post a sign advising the public that guns are not allowed on school property. Hall has recently posted the decals on the doors.

• Struna said the administration is still researching the possibility of providing every incoming freshman with some sort of tablet, such as an iPad.

• There is an education and economic prosperity meeting scheduled for March 11 at city hall.

• After a closed session, the board accepted with regret the retirement requests of Pete Kasperski and Joe Panzica, both effective June 30. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. March 19 in the library.

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