The Saranac Lake Middle School heads into testing this week and when students return in the fall, they’ll have a new “Special” or Elective to take advantage of… Middle School Principal Bruce VanWeelden says old habits die hard because students can’t really choose electives, “But when we were doing budget proposals and developing a vision,” VanWeelden told the School Board, “At the middle school they were hoping to increase opportunities for their students.. and increase the flexibility of pathways through the middle school.. Knowing that they weren’t going to get a longer day or a longer year, one of the ways to artificially gain that time is to go back to four quarters which will give the middle school an opportunity to add new offerings into the curriculum..”
One of the things the district has recently embarked on is looking closely at emerging trends.. and among the emerging trends include digital literacy citizenship and the need for students to look carefully and be aware of their digital footprint. “It’s extremely important that students at a young age understand the implications of what they put online and how it will affect their digital footprint for years to come.” VanWeelden said. “The Skills for Adolescents Course is designed to target the emerging areas and support the sixth graders transition into secondary school.. The Curriculum traditionally has been focused on soft skills.. how to plan ahead, smart and healthy choices, social interaction and 21 century skills as well including critical thinking, Problem Solving”
The new programming is a work in progress because they’re not planning on using any one canned program but VanWeelden says the 10 week “Special” is something they’re pulling together and He added they’re trying to focus on as many pieces as possible to help students become more successful.. All three middle school grades will be going to the Quarter System.. Each Grade level will take a new reading elective.. a literature based ELA course and the new Code X courses will also help students focus on writing as well as reading so that they’ll be better prepared when they reach the writing portions of the state’s common core tests..