DCSS considers math changes in 2012 curriculum

ALBANY, Ga. -- Changing the Dougherty County School System's math curriculum twice in two years doesn't add up, system staff told a Dougherty School Board committee.

The board's Instructional Accountability Committee spent two hours Monday going over mathematics curriculum, secondary assessment transition plans and the potential career academy.

Secondary Math Supervisor Sonia King gave the panel a curriculum update. The Georgia Board of Education recently decided to allow local school districts a choice of teaching mathematics on a discrete pathway -- a method in which the math courses are taught in isolation -- or on an integrated pathway in which each math course includes portions of algebra, geometry and statistics.

Currently, Dougherty is on the integrated system. There are already plans in place to change over to the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards curriculum during the 2012-13 school year. That's the reason King recommended staying with the integrated system for the near term.

"I recommend staying on the integrated pathway (for 2011-12) and then decide (with stakeholder input) whether to go with integrated or discrete for the next school year," she said. "This gives us time to secure resources to train teachers properly (for the selected pathway)."

"If we changed (before 2012-13), we would have had the curriculum changed two times in two years."

During the 2012-13 school year, the common core curriculum will be implemented on whichever pathway the board chooses for Dougherty's students.

In other business, Dianne Daniels, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, presented to the committee plans for phasing out the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT).

"The state has looked at the Georgia High School Graduation Test," Daniels said. "We are in the process of phasing out (the GHSGT) and phasing in the End-of-Course Test (beginning in the 2011-12 academic year)."

Statewide, the plan is for students entering into the ninth grade during the coming school year to begin using only end-of-course exams. That would do away with the graduation test. For the time being, the exams will account for 15 percent of the student's grade, but it should soon account for 25 percent as the GHSGT is phased out.

Officials were also given an update on the career academy process. A letter of intent was submitted to the state earlier this year, with the next step being to apply for a planning and implementation grant, and then process a charter petition renewal.

"Once the charter is approved by the local board, it goes to the (state) Department of Education," explained Daniels.

A question was posed as to whether applying for the grant, which would be for $75,000, obligates the board to establish a career academy. Daniels said she would get a definitive answer to that question.

If the planning grant is OK'd, there will be a review period before going into the process of approving the charter.

Also, plans were announced for the Magnet Schools of America conference taking place May 15-18 in Indianapolis. Board member Darrel Ealum expressed his interest to attend the conference.