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Archive for Friday, February 18, 1994

SCIENCE COURSES MAY INCREASE

February 18, 1994

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Many teachers and parents are already sold on revising the junior high curriculum, but the school district still wants to hear what others think.

Linda Kraus has taught in five states, and she's never worked in a school district where science wasn't required in every year of junior high school.

That is, until she came to Lawrence.

It is possible for local students to complete three years of junior high school with only one semester of science, which is required in ninth grade. Kraus, who teaches science at South Junior High School, says some proposed curriculum revisions could change that.

The district's Junior High Curriculum Revision Task Force is presenting its proposals at a series of public forums. The next one will be at 7 p.m. Monday at South, 2734 La.

The proposed revisions, which will be implemented in August 1995 if approved by the Lawrence school board, raise requirements in areas of foreign language, the fine arts and science.

Kraus, who serves on the task force, likes the proposal to require three year full years of science. She said the present requirement is far from adequate.

"Instead of being familiar with science and ready to take it in high school, the students are kind of afraid of it," Kraus said.

Phyllis DeVries, another task force member who teaches German at West, said the revisions also should bolster foreign language studies. For the first time, students would be required to take one semester of foreign language in the seventh or eighth grade.

DeVries said another plus is that the present foreign language offerings of German and Spanish would be expanded to include French and Latin -- the same languages offered at Lawrence High School.

"For the first time, we're going to be able to offer five years of good, solid instruction in those languages," DeVries said.

Students also would be required to enroll in one semester of art during junior high.

Schools can't add so many requirements without changing the structure of the school day, so a proposed change would move from six class periods of about 55 minutes each to eight class periods of 42 minutes each.

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