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Monday March 19, 2018


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New MHS Freshman Science Course Coming for 2018

Following the presentation of a petition signed by over 300 residents protesting the Physics First program for MHS freshman that, "creates an undue amount of stress, negativity and decreased confidence for our children," a remedy is now in play for next year's freshmen class.

On November 7 at the board work session, Superintendent of Schools Nancy Gartenberg explained the recommendation now from MHS Principal Paul Popadiuk to offer an alternative science course for freshman starting in September of 2018.

"Students in ninth grade will still have an opportunity to take Physics. They will also have another option. The feedback that we have gotten from students proved some urgency for us to take a look at it, and to offer them another option. We have engaged a research firm to study Physics in general and we will look at the research over the course of the current school year," Gartenberg said at the November 7 work session.

Board member Amy Miller said the school board's Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction (ACI) Committee recently discussed the Physics survey of freshman students fall in 2017 with Principal Popadiuk leading the initiative. "The goal was to get feedback on how their program was going so far. We will also continue with focus groups for students to give us feedback and from MHS supervisors and administration. We also plan another survey for later this school year to get another touch point on how ninth grade students are doing in Physics," Miller said.

"What is germane to this conversation is that the new junior assessment in New Jersey that will be given in science. We need to satisfy standards in the state and that will dictate contents of the course." Gartenberg explained.

In her routine update to the Board, Wynn spoke about changes in Physics First this fall with an introductory period to familiarize the freshmen students. However she stated that in an online survey this fall, more than two-thirds of MHS students said they spend less than 50% of their time studying Physics.
"More than half of them said that our Physics program caused half or more of their stress for school. They also do not feel there is enough practice given out or review. I also looked at what the greatest weaknesses were for MHS Physics First and whether there's any strengths. Weaknesses were the organization of information, presentation of course information and the clarity of that information. The strength was that Physics students felt they had an been given opportunity to not only learn for themselves but think for themselves about real world situations. While students are appreciating that I think too much of it can lead to the lack of clarity. We need to look at exactly how our classes are being taught and what information is given out to students versus what information is expected to be derived," Wynn said on November 7.

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