2013-09-19 / Front Page

School district puts focus on engineering

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

A fter last year’s successful launch of a robotics team at the high school, South Brunswick school officials are looking to add a team at the middle school level as part of their push to grow the district’s engineering curriculum.

The initiative was among the top 12 proposed goals presented for the 2013-14 school year during a Board of Education work session Sept. 9.

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Joanne Kerekes said officials reviewed the district’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program and concluded that the district needs further growth in the engineering sector.

Since parents have continued to request more engineering-related options, school officials will look to develop an articulated and comprehensive STEM program that focuses on engineering for students in sixth through 12th grades.

“We look to add one or two engineering courses at the high school next year,” Kerekes said.

The proposed robotics team at the middle school is tied to the district’s goal of adding STEM-related clubs and enrichment programs beginning in fifth grade. During the last school year, the high school robotics team made it to national finals in Anaheim, Calif., and was recognized as a Team of Excellence, which is a rare honor for a rookie team.

Other goals include measuring student and program progress through development, implementation, monitoring and analysis throughout the year; implementing a new evaluation system for teachers, education specialists and leaders; providing online professional learning for staff; and learning the programs and tools necessary for the online PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers) assessment.

Additional goals are the ongoing evaluation of the safety of the district’s facilities and the implementation of various security measures set forth in the 2013 security assessment that was completed in conjunction with the South Brunswick Police Department.

District officials will also review options and make recommendations for the installation of field turf for various athletic programs.

Superintendent of Schools Gary Mc- Cartney said the school board members will have time to review the proposed goals and make suggestions before their regular meeting on Sept. 23.

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