Knowing that the Williamsport Area School District, along with its students and staff, is going through a major transition, the administration took time to speak about some of the changes that will occur over the next year at Tuesday's school board meeting.
David Michaels, current Cochran Elementary School principal and future Curtin Intermediate School principal, and Dr. Don Adams, assistant superintendent, spoke about how the district's intermediate schools - grades four through six - will function.
Michaels explained that sixth-grade students will transition, starting next year, to curriculum programs such as Treasures for language arts and FOSS for science, which already are being used with students in kindergarten through fifth grades.
Michaels said these are "solid" programs that saw success this year and will continue in the future.
When deciding how the day should flow in intermediate schools, Adams said the district had a choice between departmentalization or a self-contained model.
Departmentalization is used in the district's middle schools, with students making about three transitions throughout the day to travel to different rooms for lessons in different subjects.
Although it works in that setting, Adams explained that the staff and administration decided to go with the self-contained model - which keeps students with one teacher and classroom throughout the day.
As Adams explained, choosing this model cuts down on the amount of students a teacher has each day and allows them to better interact with students and parents.
"The self-contained model teacher will be seeing 25 students a day," Adams said.
The model also allows teachers to be flexible with lesson plans and time. Michaels said this will "make sure students needs are met," instead of worrying about the time and getting students to their next classroom.
"Instructors can say, 'I'm going to take five extra minutes (on a lesson),' " he said.
Also, each day is being fully used because no time is lost between classes, Adams said.
To help with the transition that the district will make next year, Michaels said teachers in grades four, five and six will work together during professional development time starting this month.
After the meeting, Adams said that time spent together will be very important for those teachers as they begin to work as a team.
"It's huge. We know that the switch to a self-contained model will be a challenge for some teachers, which is why we have a year of professional development," he said.
In other news, the board approved a Latin Club for the high school. Nick Karl, Latin teacher, explained to the board that the club will allow him to do more activities that he doesn't have time for during class and things that are "outside of the scope" of the classroom.
Karl explained there are games and activities, along with state and national organizations in which he plans to have the club participate.
"I'm glad to have Latin alive and well in Williamsport," said David B. Stone Jr., board member.