South 5th and 6th graders to get social studies back

Curriculum changes in the South Williamsport Area School District will bring back social studies to students preparing for junior high.

“We haven’t had social studies in the fifth and sixth grades for a long time,” said Superintendent Mark Stamm at Monday night’s school board meeting. “There’s as much geography as anything else in this. It’ll help the kids transition into the higher grades.”

Fifth graders will receive a course in world history and sixth graders a course in American history, allowing seventh graders to take a civics class before three straight years of American history are required, according to Stamm.

“I know social studies is something that parents talk about, that’s been gone for a number of years,” said board President John Engel. “It was just gone – and now it’s back, and that’s a great thing.”

Other curriculum changes announced at Monday’s meeting include an integrated elementary reading and writing program.

“We’ve been dealing with a reading program, Scott Foresman, that’s 20 or 25 years old,” Stamm said. “It’s kind of been a smorgasbord, where every teacher cobbles together their own curriculum. This program will combine the reading, writing and grammar all into one.”

Lynn Kromer, maintenance supervisor, reported on the energy efficiency strides taken recently by the district.

The district can expect to receive about $10,000 this year for participating in a voluntary PPL program that asks participants to shut down all power in case of an overload emergency.

“We haven’t had an event take place in 15 years or so, but we still demonstrate every year that we can go off the grid if need be,” Kromer said.

The board will meet Monday, May 20 to approve a preliminary budget for the 2013-14 school year, that is expected to bring a tax hike of 0.6 mills.