.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Fort Knox schools transforming teaching and learning

-A A +A

Schools column by Dr. Frank Calvano

By DR. FRANK CALVANO

More than 2,000 children are expected to start school at Fort Knox on August 2. They will benefit from our initiatives titled Transforming Teaching and Learning in our 21st Century Schools.

In preparation for the students’ arrival, our certified staff members will hold a unique professional development day. They will choose from more than 40 training sessions dedicated to technology project-based learning, instructional strategies, working with parents and content specific sessions. Some sessions will focus on three new initiatives involving teachers and students.

Creative Curriculum

The Fort Knox schools, along with all DoDEA schools worldwide, recently adopted the updated preschool Creative Curriculum program. Last spring, all pre-kindergarten and preschool child development teachers attended three days of program training. Based on the latest research in early childhood education, the program features exploration and discovery as a way of learning that enables children to develop confidence, creativity and critical thinking skills.

As part of the new program, children will engage in studies or explorations about topics to which they can relate. For example, they will engage in a study of balls. From this study, they will learn about science concepts such as gravity and friction through hands on experiments. They also will discover different games played around the world, and even create their own ball games. Every study will end with a special event where the students can share what they have learned with their families.

STEM

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Fort Knox schools are getting immersed in it. Macdonald Intermediate School and Pierce Elementary School are working with the Engineering Design Process (EDP) through a curriculum called Engineering is Elementary.

Scott Middle School has a partnership with the University of Kentucky whereby UK sends in robotics experts to work with students using Lego Robotics and the EDP. Many Fort Knox schools purchased Lego Robotics Kits and will utilize the EDP in gifted resource classes and regular classrooms.

In  April, Fort Knox High School hosted a STEMposium for all eight Fort Knox schools. Speakers included environmental practitioners who demonstrated many aspects of their careers to all students visiting the STEMposium.

Because STEM and the EDP include students at all levels, the district is looking forward to increasing students’ awareness of STEM-based careers. STEM’s goal is to encourage girls and other under-represented populations to pursue careers in science, engineering or math. Fort Knox is well on the way to making that goal a reality.

New high school math courses

Preparing mathematically literate students for the 21st century entails new approaches to the design and content of our secondary math courses. To that end, Fort Knox High School will add two new courses to its current math offerings.

One is Algebraic Modeling, which is designed to function as a bridge course for students to take between Algebra I and Algebra II. This course is designed to provide relevant context for the study of algebraic concepts and to promote their conceptual understanding. Students should enroll after Algebra I to help prepare for Algebra II through various activities that focus on modeling in the real world. The course will provide a bridge for students who might need further exposure to functions and other Algebra I concepts before taking more advanced courses.

The second course to be implemented this school year is Advanced Functions, a post Algebra II course that promotes conceptual understanding of advanced math topics. Utilizing multiple representations of functions to model real world and relevant applications, the course will help provide students with 21st century skills and prepare them for college and career opportunities.

Both math courses will stress an in-depth study of modeling and applying functions, utilizing relevant and current context and the latest technology.

We look forward to challenging our students and providing them skills they will need now and in the future. In the Fort Knox schools, we are all transforming teaching and learning to meet the needs of the students.

Dr. Frank Calvano is superintendent of the Kentucky District, comprised of the Fort Knox and Fort Campbell school systems. The Kentucky District is a part of DoDEA, the Department of Defense Education Activity.