CSD adopts new elementary curriculum

On Wednesday, March 9 the Creswell School District met for their monthly meeting. Creslane Elementary School Principal Amy Halley and multiple K-5 teachers along with other administrators from the school began the meeting with a presentation of a new proposed English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum for the elementary school at Creslane. 

In her time at Creslane, Halley had been in talks with other teachers about putting together a new curriculum as some educators felt their current one was getting outdated. After creating some themes or a “shopping list” that both teachers and administrators were looking for in a new curriculum, the search was ended after everyone agree upon adopting a new program called Benchmark Advance. Instead of standardized textbooks, Benchmark provides a more interactive approach with the students that consists of doing work in personal workbooks. Presenters raved about the early engagements they have seen with their students with a handful of teachers piloting the program already. 

“The texts (in the book) are super engaging because they’re in color,” said second-grade teacher Jessica May who is piloting the program in her classroom. “Something I’ve noticed is the student engagement has increased so much. There are less behavioral issues in the classroom because it’s such a rigorous program that’s also very engaging.”

Board member Lacey Risdal highlighted the fact that the new curriculum has an additional handwriting aspect while the previous one did not. 

Risdal asked Halley following the presentation if the new curriculum extends K-8 and not just K-5. 

“The secondary schools will be adopting a program that’s not Benchmark,” said Halley. “The program does go K-6 but the sixth-grade curriculum is really meant for a sixth-grade that’s in an elementary school and not a middle school setting,” Halley added. “While the materials won’t be the same K-12, the content and areas of instruction that we really wanted to focus on are aligned.”

Overall, the presentation and discussion took over an hour and was later approved unanimously by the school board. 

In his superintendent report, Johnson talked about fundraising to fix some issues with the track facility with the World Athletic Championships coming to Eugene this summer and the Finland national team staying in Creswell. 

“The long-jump runway is just peeling up and cracking,” said Johnson. “We also have to do some repairs on the pole vault pit, those repairs are going to help our community contribution towards hosting the Finland team here in Creswell.” 

Johnson added that the return of the annual Fourth of July firework show is in the works to return to the Creswell stadium in a coordinated effort with the Creswell Chamber of Commerce.

Lastly, Johnson announced the district will go mask optional in ordinance with the OHA recommendations. He also added that the district is seeing a return to normal for attendance rates at schools that compare to pre-pandemic percentages (March in 2020 was 92 percent and the first week of March in 2022 was 93 percent).

The board will be conducting Superintendent Mike Johnson’s evaluation on March 17 in an executive session. 

The school district’s next meeting will be held on April 13 at 7 p.m.


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