September 6, 2013
Dear HTS Community:
We are excited about this school year and believe we have all the necessary building blocks in place to make this the best year ever. We spent a great deal of time last year asking probing questions of ourselves, our curriculum and our expectations. Although we are doing very well, the challenge is to push ourselves even more and continue to improve our organization. In short, we think we can still do better and we think we can demand more of our students.
Universities are becoming more competitive than ever and we owe it to ourselves and to our constituents to challenge our students more this year. In recent years, you might have read a story or two about “grade inflation” and the deleterious long-term effects it has on student learning. What we are looking to do this year is challenge our students to think critically, to analyze and synthesize and to research and write term papers. As a result, report card grades might slip a bit. This does not mean our students are not achieving at the same levels. Rather, it means that we are “raising the bar” across the K-8 spectrum. In the near term it might be difficult, but these changes, we believe, will benefit all our students in the long run.
Our curricula is more robust and rigorous than ever and completely aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Some specific differences (before and after) with our new curricula in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math are below.
Old Grade 7 ELA Curriculum: The student will…
1. Produce written work and oral work that demonstrate comprehension of informational materials.
New Grade 7 ELA Curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS): The student will…
1. Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
Old Grade 8 Math Curriculum: The student will…
1. Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem.
New Grade 8 Math Curriculum aligned to the CCSS: The student will…
1. Explain a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem and its converse.
2. Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to determine unknown side lengths in right triangles in real- world and mathematical problems in two and three dimensions.
3. Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between two points in a coordinate system.
These curricular trends are very similar for other grades and subjects as well. We hope you will partner with us this year as we strive to become the premier PK-8 school district in New Jersey.
If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at HTS.