What a difference a year makes.
The West Windsor-Plainsboro School Board on Dec. 13 approved revisions to the 2017-’18 Program of Studies that were met with approval by more than a dozen parents in the audience — nearly all members of the Chinese immigrant community — who were opponents of the controversial revisions made by the board to revise the Accelerated & Enriched math program last December.
The most significant change is prerequisite adjustments to the high school chemistry and chemistry honors: biology is no longer required before taking chemistry. This means that, beginning next year, students in ninth grade are potentially eligible to take both biology and chemistry concurrently. Other changes include the addition of a theater arts class and AP Microeconomics to the curriculum next year.
Board member Taylor Zhong called it a “big change.”
Assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Martin Smith pointed out that ninth grade students who double up science courses must concurrently also take Alegebra II or higher. The students that most likely satisfy this requirement are those who have taken A&E math in middle school.
Smith did note that high school science teachers in the district do not recommend doubling up on lab sciences, as students entering high school usually need to adjust to new lab requirements.
“I believe this is a good balance and adjustment to the curriculum,” said Board member Yingchao Zhang, who joined the curriculum committee this past year.
During the public comment period after the Program of Studies presentation, residents Zhigang Zhang, Yunqing Li, and Helen Yin thanked the board and administration for their hard work in the past year.
All three parents are officers in the WW-P Education Support Association, a nonprofit group that was created earlier this year to support educational excellence for K-12 students in the district. They also said they look forward to working with the school officials in the future.
“I believe we should offer students as many opportunities as possible,” Zhang said.
Reflecting on the past year, Yin said, “I think we finally figured out a better way to communicate with each other.”
The final meeting of the year was the last one for outgoing board member Scott Powell. Carol Herts will replace him on the board next year. Superintendent David Aderhold and board President Tony Fleres thanked Powell for his service.
“He’s been very thoughtful and not afraid to offer his opinion,” Fleres said. “Scott has been an asset.”