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An Important Message About PreK-4 Science Instruction

Dear Shaker Schools Community,

The Shaker Schools values high-quality science education for all students. There has been discussion in our community about this very topic and we would like to provide some clarity around our decision to change the way science is delivered to our elementary school students.

Our goal, as outlined in the District’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, is to prepare our students for potential careers in science and math fields. Research and experience tell us that science cannot be an add-on or occasional field trip. Science has to be an essential part of our core curriculum. Our youngest students must receive the foundation they need to succeed in rigorous science courses in Middle School, High School and beyond. Our data indicates that we can do better.

To that end, we are moving to embed science instruction into our PreK-4 classrooms in the 2017-18 school year. In addition to this regular classroom experience, we will incorporate an expanded variety of local field trips to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Great Lakes Science Center, local watersheds, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and other appropriate science institutions and locales.

We understand that many elementary families value the Woodbury science lab field trips. However, it is important for our families to understand that this refinement is intended to increase and enhance science experiences for our PreK-4 students through regular classroom science experiments and instruction, as well as real-world experiences.

Additionally, this change will give our fifth- and sixth-grade teachers and students full access to the science lab in their own school.

We are fortunate to have highly qualified PreK-4 teachers who are licensed to teach all content areas in our elementary schools. They will continue to provide a high-quality educational experience, including science instruction, for all PreK-4 students.

Our teachers, administrators and other science educators will be highly involved with making our science experiences for students in PreK-4 more robust and more frequent. Our Curriculum & Instruction Leadership Council (CILC), which consists of teachers and administrators, will continue to work toward our curriculum development efforts, including our goal to provide a more robust science experience for all students in Shaker.

The District will continue to refine its communication with the school community about instructional decisions. Parents will be informed about our curriculum efforts and plan during our curriculum night in the fall of 2017. Additionally, we are working with our PTO Council to keep parents informed.

Sincerely,

Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

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