The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

MCPS begins overhaul of Curriculum 2.0

January 25, 2019

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MCPS begins overhaul of Curriculum 2.0

Graphic by Helen Qian

Graphic by Helen Qian

Graphic by Helen Qian

Last March, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy released a report analyzing whether MCPS’ self-designed elementary and middle school curriculum met the federal Common Core standards adopted by the State Board of Education. According to the Johns Hopkins report, MCPS fell short of meeting the standards for that criteria. In response, the Montgomery County Board of Education is expected to overhaul their English and math curriculum for elementary and middle schools across the county this month.

According to Bethesda Magazine, the Board decided on the new curriculum during their first 2019 meeting and has allotted $12.4 million to buying new instructional materials that would support the modern classroom environment, over the course of 3 years. This transition will take place initially at the elementary and middle school levels, and it will eventually make its way to high schools with a new algebra curriculum.

The current standard curriculum is Curriculum 2.0, which was developed from 2010 to 2013 and is one of the earliest Common Core curricula developed. However, as the academic landscape has continued to change in the last five years, MCPS has followed the Johns Hopkins study recommendation to explore new instructional materials.

One major aspect of the new curriculum is that it will be more tailored to the diverse student body of MCPS. In an interview with Bethesda Magazine, Scott Murphy, director of secondary curriculum and districtwide programs for MCPS, said: “There may be materials in multiple languages. There may be more explicit differentiation for advanced learners or English language learners than may exist in the current curriculum.”

At RM, student opinions on the curriculum overhaul are mixed. “The curriculum doesn’t need a change, but the way of teaching it does, and the classes and student grades reflect their personal growth,” junior Ita Teta said.

Sophomore Vergiel Ariaga agreed that a curriculum change is necessary. “I agree with changing elementary and middle school curriculum because it creates a habit to have a better mindset in order to be successful,” sophomore Vergiel Ariaga said.

Ariaga, however, also believes that although high school does prepare students for colleges, the quality of instruction varies from classroom to classroom. “Teachers teach differently and have different expectations. So it depends on teachers,” he said. “If the teacher has low standards, then we would be slacking, leading to not learning, meaning that we wouldn’t be able to learn specific techniques due to lack of time.”

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