New Science Curriculum in District 204

District 204 has been toggling back and forth with the adoption of a new science curriculum: more specifically, the IQWST resources that would shift from traditional memorization to inquiry-based learning.

The curriculum would align with the Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS, and got a strong push from board members after multiple presentations from administrators and teachers.

“This isn’t teaching to the test. This is teaching to ask questions, to be inquisitive and to wonder why, and for a middle school group, I just think it’s what we need to be continuing to foster,” said Board President, Lori Price.

But Dr. Maria Curry, the only board member to vote against the science plan, expressed concern about setting forth a curriculum that had not been fully piloted.

“I am concerned that if we get this wrong, because we’re rushing to adopt something to say ‘okay we’re meeting the NGSS’, we’re hurting these students a whole lot more than we’re helping them. Maybe because I’m somewhat risk-averse, I’d prefer to see some pilots,” said Board Member, Maria Curry.

The Next Generation Science Standards are mandated by the state of Illinois for the 2016-17 school year, and board member Mark Rising said the six-to-one vote for approval was much overdue.

“We’ve been working on this for three years, and we still haven’t gotten our teachers adequate materials to help them in developing the curriculum. I’m personally a little disappointed in us, because we should be way farther ahead on this because we’ve been working three years on it,” said Board Member, Mark Rising.

The district plans to spend roughly $835,000 over the next six years to buy the middle school resources for 96 teachers and more than 6,000 students.

Students will be tested on the Next Generation Science Standards beginning this spring.

Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.

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