The Olentangy School District will be using some new high-tech resources to teach its students in the next school year.
The resources, most of which were approved by the Board of Education in May, should help students improve at reading and science.
“We worked throughout the year to identify the needs, and to justify some purchases,” said Anthony Elkins, supervisor of curriculum for grades K-5. The resources align with the digital conversion that’s taking place, integrates with what’s already being used, and passed muster in a presentation to a curriculum committee.
“Word Study is a critical part of reading instruction at the elementary level,” Elkins said of one of the resources. He said it was already in use in the district for intervention, but felt it would work better if it was also used in regular instruction.
“Word Study” consists of “Fundations” for grades K-3, and “Words Their Way” for grades 4-5.
“Teachers want resources they can collaborate with between buildings,” Elkins said.
Another reading resource is Newsela.
“Newsela is an online resource that provides students access to daily news articles,” said Vince DeTillio, supervisor of curriculum for grades 6-12. “The interesting thing is the teacher is able to change the reading level of the article, simply by clicking a button. Our teachers know about this resource.”
The articles, available at five different levels, are from sources like the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian. DeTillio said the articles provide non-fiction text, which teachers are looking for.
“This is something every teacher, regardless of content area, is going to have access to and be able to use,” he said.
Newsela will be considered by the board in July.
DeTillio also recommended some science resources.
Gizmos, for example, are online simulations of experiments that involve math and science and mimics the state tests for middle school students.
“It allows you to do experiments that are too dangerous for the classroom, or just not feasible. You can still do the science in some way,” he said. “Over the last three years, all I’ve heard about is Gizmos.”
In addition, the district will renew online subscriptions for the middle school science series from Holt Science and Technology until 2020.
“It’s challenging to keep up with the curriculum resources” while maintaining consistency across the district, said Superintendent Mark Raiff.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.