Story by Lisa Rice
Superintendent Dr. David Leach updated the Warwick Valley Central School Board about the District’s progress in curriculum design at the regular School Board meeting on Mon., Dec. 10.
Using a slideshow, Dr. Leach highlighted advances in different areas across the District and spoke of the mission to keep the design empathetic, collaborative and analytical. He applauded the “fine work by teachers and teacher leaders,” acknowledging the late nights and time out of the classroom teachers have volunteered and called them “curriculum designers” using a “balanced assessment plan.”
The Unit Design: Adult Learning Timetable called for the introduction to Unit Design Curriculum to be the 2017-2018 school year, Performance Tasks 2018-2019 school year concluding with Formative Assessment Benchmarking in 2019-2020.
“If you study schools around the country, you will find curriculum with good units, but not systematically across the board, K-12. That is the goal,” said Dr. Leach.
“The vast majority of our teachers have been adapting successfully,” Leach said. “Ninety percent have had professional development. We are developing curriculum using backward design. Start with the goal of the unit and work backward on how to get students there.”
Examples of Performance Tasks in Practice
First graders in ELA/Social Studies would be faced with the driving question of “How can we as authors and historians bring history to life for our friends from Traveling Trunks?” The performance task chosen to address this question was to invite “First Grade Authors” to write a fictional story about a child who lived long ago using historical facts. This encouraged the children to be creative and to do research.
ELA/Social Studies sixth graders were challenged with the driving question: “How can we as historians design a blueprint and write a proposal that showcases Greco-Roman Architecture for the repair and restoration of our local Warwick bridges?” The performance task for this question was to look at the Wawayanda Creek Project, a community volunteer project to make a more attractive recreational waterway in the Warwick community.
The final performance task posed to High School Physics students highlighted the question: “How can we as engineer teams implement physics concepts to design a working prototype of the ultimate safe car?” The students were tasked with incorporating the aspects of physics to design a device within or as part of a vehicle to protect an occupant during a collision.
Dr. Leach concluded his presentation stating, “I want to give thanks to Mr. Yap and others in the District who made this a priority. [Warwick students are] among the highest Regents scores and highest graduation rate. They go to top colleges. But that’s not good enough.”
Plans to Schedule Meeting with Metzger
In providing the report on Advocacy and Fair Funding, Board member David Eaton noted that negotiations at the Capital Conference were coming up. Board member Lynn Lillian suggested that they needed to schedule a meeting with newly-elected State Senator Jen Metzger.
Warwick Schools as Model for Other Districts
Tappan Zee High School representatives came to Warwick to tour the high school and learn about the effectiveness of using a block schedule and unit lunch, which they are considering adapting. They met with administration, teachers and students to discuss the merits and any pitfalls of the system.
South Orangetown Schools are also looking at Warwick as they consider a less traditional approach to scheduling. Additionally, representatives from Montvale New Jersey schools are looking at Warwick’s K-8 program curriculum from schedule to technology.
“It’s an honor to have three districts come and be able to collaborate is a pleasure,” Leach said, adding that Putnam Valley Schools are coming to learn about the District’s green initiatives.
High School Happenings
Student Liaison Madeline Wadeson gave a run down on exciting things happening at the high school, including the arrival of college acceptances and the deadline for Greenwood Lake students to choose to attend Warwick for high school.
Wadeson discussed the upcoming ‘Under the Influence” simulation, sponsored by the Warwick Coalition and Leo Kaytes Ford, where they wear Ford’s Drunk or Drugged Driving suit and try to pass a mock sobriety test. The school’s video production team will be recording the event. Dr. Leach mentioned that Athletics Director Greg Sirico would wear the suit as a demonstration.
For the first time in many years, Warwick High School hosted the regional math team meet. Six students attended a Leadership Conference where they learned about job interview techniques.
Three Warwick students attended the All-State Concert in Rochester, Izabele Horowitz for Strings Orchestra (violin), Ethan Tuomala for Jazz Ensemble (tenor) and Daniel Brenner for mixed chorus (bass) accompanied by music teacher and choral director Noreen Hanson.
The Meistersingers, also accompanied by Hanson, have been caroling for many community events and tree lightings.
New Teacher Welcomed
The School Board welcomed new certified K-6 teacher, Matt Colandra.
After approving a field trip for sixth graders at the middle school to visit the Liberty Science Center on May 22 and 23 and accepting a donation of 24 pair of ANSI Safety glasses from Roe Brothers for the High School Robotics Club, the Board recessed into Executive Session to discuss an individual’s employment history and announced that no further business would be conducted.
Next Board Meeting
The next regular school board meeting will be held on Mon., Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Dorothy C. Wilson Education Center, located at 225 West St. in Warwick.