An outdated curriculum in Milford’s elementary schools will be replaced next year with a $371,000 English/Language Arts program from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
At its May 20 regular meeting, the Milford School District board of education unanimously approved the purchase of the updated curriculum.
According to Travis Moorman, director of teaching and learning for the Milford School District, the new program includes materials for all grades in each of the district’s three elementary schools and at the Evelyn L. Morris Early Childhood Center.
“It includes all the components that our teachers had indicated were essential in order to implement the new program, in addition to making sure we are lined with common core state standards,” Moorman said, adding that the current program, Macmillan McGraw-Hill, is in its eighth year in the district and is no longer sold by its publisher.
Susan Donahue, principal of Mispillion Elementary School, said she recently tried to call Macmillan McGraw-Hill regarding materials she needed for a new grade level.
“They basically told me to check Amazon and other places, because they are no longer publishing what we currently have,” Donohue said. “So in order for us to keep using [this program] we’ll have to switch things from grade to grade, because they no longer fit. Certain standards we’ve been teaching, such as those in second grade, are now first grade standards. Those teachers have to swap out. There’s a lot to do in order to make it work, and it would be really difficult.”
Nancy Carnevale, principal of Milford Middle School, said her school adopted the same exact program at the secondary level two years ago.
“We have been very happy with the results,” Carnevale said, adding she’s seen an increase in student achievement, specifically in reading scores.
A majority of the cost for the new curriculum is funded by Title I and Title II grants. The remaining balance of roughly $250,000 will come out of Moorman’s curriculum/instruction budget, which will wipe that account clean for next year.
Regardless, Moorman said it’s a necessary expense as, no matter what, the district will experience a fiscal impact.
“If we don’t [get this new program] we’ll have to pull teachers [to write a new curriculum], which means substitute costs go up,” he said. “We’ll have to take a look at a lot of resources that we currently have and start working on trying to align them to the changing [state] standards. Then we’ll have to look at supplemental resources to try and put a Band-Aid on the situation till we’re able to secure a fully research-based program to really implement it to the level it needs to be.”
Page 2 of 2 - Also approved unanimously at the May 20 meeting were modifications to the district’s diploma requirements with regard to the Advanced Placement and Honors programs. Moorman said the adjustments expand the opportunity for students to enroll in Honors and AP courses.
The board also adopted an adjusted student code of conduct, with one major modification being a more strict consequence – one day of suspension – for first offense plagiarism.