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Update Regarding LMSD Elementary School Schedule

Update Regarding LMSD Elementary School Schedule

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Published by LMVUE
Lower Merion School District email from Dr. Christopher McGinley regarding proposed changes to curriculum. Sent on 4-18-13
Lower Merion School District email from Dr. Christopher McGinley regarding proposed changes to curriculum. Sent on 4-18-13

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Published by: LMVUE on Apr 20, 2013
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04/20/2013

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4/20/13 6:14 AMGmail - Update Regarding LMSD Elementary School SchedulePage 1 of 3https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=a8765dfd23&view=pt&search=inbox&msg=13e1edeee388430a
Regina Melchiorre <we3browns@gmail.com>
Update Regarding LMSD Elementary School Schedule
Lower Merion School District
<emailalert@lmsd.org>Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 4:38 PMReply-To: Lower Merion School District <emailalert@lmsd.org>To: we3browns@gmail.com
 April 18, 2013Dear Parents/Guardians:There has been a great deal of discussion among parents regarding the District’s review of theelementary school schedule. Parents have expressed valid concerns about the potential impact of anew schedule on art, music, physical education, world language and library classes. As our elementary principals indicated in their letter to you last week, we share many of these concerns andremain dedicated to maintaining the quality and continuity of these essential programs.The plan to modify the schedule is not a plan to cut the arts. Rather, it is part of a larger discussion toaddress several fundamental concerns impacting our instructional program. I regret that we have notadequately communicated these concerns to you and provided better background information aboutthe need to explore a revised schedule. I am hopeful this letter will provide greater context andclarification.Finding additional time for core subject areas has been a longstanding concern for Lower MerionSchool District elementary school staff. This concern has been regularly raised at the school level, andshared during meetings of our Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development Committee(CIPD). CIPD is comprised of teachers, principals, supervisors and central office administrators. Inrecent years, CIPD was divided into secondary and elementary committees. As a result, theelementary committee has had more time to focus on their specific concerns. The issue of instructional time constraints has been central to our discussion this year and has been of concernsince at least 2006. To date, minimal action has been taken to address this issue.Why is additional instructional time in core areas important? Why must we act now? The bottom line isthere are an unacceptable number of our students leaving elementary school lacking some of theessential skills they need to succeed. Writing and science are areas of particular concern. We do anexcellent job educating children in this community; we provide opportunities that few other districts inthe country can match. We also recognize the need for constant improvement. Standardized tests arenot the driver of our educational decisions, but test results do provide valuable information about theprogress of our students. For example, while 57% of our fifth grade students were advanced inreading on last year’s state assessment, only 5% of those students were advanced in writing. Our teachers have told us that with more time to instruct and prepare, these results can and will improve.The LMSD administrative team listened to staff concerns, reviewed their feedback and suggestionsand began to focus on strategies for maximizing instructional time in the school day. We established
 
4/20/13 6:14 AMGmail - Update Regarding LMSD Elementary School SchedulePage 2 of 3https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=a8765dfd23&view=pt&search=inbox&msg=13e1edeee388430a
the following goals:
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Provide increased instructional time for literacy, writing, math, and science
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Provide time for targeted individual instruction and increase opportunities for an entire classof students to have uninterrupted instruction
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Maintain Lower Merion School District’s commitment to meeting the holistic needs of allchildren
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Provide time for staff to collaborate, plan and review data
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 Address teacher accountability  At the School Board meeting on April 15, I reviewed the current elementary schedule and focused onthe time spent outside of the grade-level classroom for specials, enrichment and support services, etc.However, our most pressing concern is the amount of quality time that children have working with their grade level teacher. The current schedule is based on a five-day cycle and includes the followingallotment of time for art, music, physical education, FLES and library:
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 Art: 60 minutes grades 1 to 5
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Music: 60 minutes (or two 30 minute periods) in grades 1 to 5
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PE/Health: 30 minutes for Kindergarten and 60 minutes (or two 30 minute periods) for grades 1 to 5
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FLES: 90 minutes for grades 2 to 5 (grades 4 and 5 may be two 45 minute periods asneeded)
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Library: 30 minutes for grades K to 5 We believe that our current proposal makes modest adjustments to the schedule and moves us closer to our goals. It also provides a balance within the school day to address the increasing demands of theinstructional program. The proposal is as follows:
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Establish a six-day cycle
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Begin the instructional day five minutes earlier 
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Create dedicated blocks of time for students to receive enrichment and support servicesthat do not interfere with core instructional time
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Maintain current length of time for each class meeting of art, music, physical education,world language (FLES) and libraryUnder this proposal (moving to a six-day cycle), the number of class meetings for these subjects

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