Curriculum & Instruction FAQ
2022-23 Transportation Information
Princeton Plan Curriculum & Instruction FAQ
Will teachers in each grade level use the same curriculum?
Yes. All teachers will implement the same curriculum in each grade level.
What improvements to the elementary curriculum are planned now that all students in a grade will be in the same building?
In addition to existing opportunities, we will continue to introduce Science and STEM activities. In 2022-2023, students will receive Science/STEM specials twice in the six-day cycle.
Will the move to the Princeton Plan provide an opportunity to change the way literacy is taught?
We review our curriculum continuously. We have added Words Their Way for phonics, spelling and vocabulary instruction at the elementary level. Our Reading and Writing Units are revised by teacher input each year.
Will teachers be identified as subject area experts?
This concept is being explored, especially at FW. We likely would not implement such a change until after we have fully transitioned and received feedback from staff.
What communication will occur between buildings with respect to curriculum and student achievement?
All teachers have access to the full K-5 Year-at-a-Glance documents. Teacher leaders and Principals will continue to meet regularly across the elementary schools and with BMMS.
Will there be additional emphasis on science at the elementary level?
Yes. Science will become a special for elementary students twice in the six-day cycle. The general science curriculum will be enhanced by the addition of the computer standards, including coding and some early robotics experiences in all elementary schools.
Can foreign languages be added to the elementary curriculum?
We are actively exploring how to incorporate foreign languages in the elementary schools. While excited about this potential, it is not likely in our first year in the Princeton Plan.
Will there be ability grouping of students or will classes be structured so that they include students at all skill levels and abilities? Will there be opportunities for advanced students to be challenged?
Classes will always be balanced across abilities. Within classes, teaching in small groups addresses different levels of needs in different subjects. Additionally, we will re-introduce the W-I-N (what I need) Block which regroups students across a single grade based on achievement data. This will allow for targeted enrichment and/or remediation in a content area. This will likely begin in January 2023, after we have student achievement data.
In the first year, will students intentionally be placed with prior classmates in order to facilitate the transition to the Princeton Plan?
Principals will create class rosters to be sure students have familiar faces from their current school when transitioning to their new schools and classrooms next year.
Will specials remain on a six-day schedule?
Yes. All specials will continue to be offered on the existing six-day schedule.
Will any specials be added or dropped? Will the length of time that specials are offered be increased/decreased?
The length of the specials remains the same and remains on the six-day cycle. As we shared above, Science/STEM/Library will now meet twice in the six-day cycle.
Will specials teachers be required to travel between schools? Will any specials teachers be lost?
The Princeton Plan greatly reduces the need for teachers to travel. There is a retirement in music from BMMS that will not be replaced as all band and orchestra students will be in the same building, creating staffing efficiency.
Will the district be required to purchase additional musical instruments? Will the 4th and 5th grade students still have access to the same frequency of small group lessons for band/orchestra?
There is no need for additional instruments. Elementary band/orchestra will remain in place with small group lessons and live performance opportunities.
What kind of peer modeling will there be with older and younger children? Will interactions between grades, e.g., reading buddies, be maintained?
Teachers will plan intentional buddy relationships across schools. These may be virtual or in-person, with students visiting the other schools. We continue to plan intentional activities between Furnace Woods and BMMS for this purpose.
Can there be more diversity/sensitivity/inclusion training?
Yes. The current Strategic Planning process will focus on this work and include input from students, staff, parents, and community members.
What teacher/staff positions are being eliminated as a result of the Princeton Plan implementation?
Some elementary classroom positions have been reduced as a result of the Princeton Plan implementation. In some cases, special area teachers have been reduced, as the Princeton Plan creates opportunities to use staff in a more efficient manner.
Will there be additional opportunities for after-school activities, e.g., sports?
We are looking forward to developing age-appropriate after school activities, including clubs and sports. We are also exploring whether students from Furnace Woods can participate in activities at BMMS.
What supports will be in place at each school for students, e.g., special education, reading specialists, RTI?
All of the current support programs will remain in place for our students and families.
Will class sizes increase? How many classes will there be per grade level?
We will continue to follow our class size guidelines. The number of classes per grade depends on grade level enrollment. We will add teachers when necessary, should enrollment in the particular grade level increase.
Now that all grade level teachers will be located in one building, will the schedule allow for common planning time so that there is consistency in the curriculum within each grade? (How will the grade level teachers meet?)
Yes. Teachers will have more time for collaboration and common planning time. In addition, they will be able to use faculty meeting time and other opportunities for increased collaboration.
How will teachers be able to share information across grades or get curriculum-wide perspective (K-5). Will professional development include this perspective?
Yes. Teachers will continue to work together on a K-5 continuum, especially during the early release days scheduled for 2022-2023.
Will there be a reduction in library services?
The district has been moving from traditional library skills to introduce 21st century Science/STEM activities as part of this experience. Age appropriate libraries (access to books, etc.) will be maintained and staffed for students to access.
Will the libraries be modified to have more of a selection of grade-appropriate books in each building? Will libraries in buildings with younger grades continue to have books available for advanced readers?
Yes. We have worked with a regional library specialist to ensure libraries will have relevant resources for all children. This includes especially literature to support accelerated and advanced learners and non-fiction texts that match their social studies and science curriculum.
What is the vision for a broader campus between Furnace Woods and Blue Mountain Middle School? Will any 5th grade classes be held at the middle school in order to familiarize those students with the middle school layout and curriculum?
This discussion began last spring where the BMMS 6th grade teachers started brainstorming partnership and transition activities. We expect there to be continued opportunities for collaboration across the two schools. There is great excitement about this potential partnership, further easing the transition into 6th grade.
Will lunch and recess be grouped by grade only? Will lunch and recess times be increased for the younger grades?
School principals will share these schedules when available.
Will all teachers be assigned based on the grade they currently teach, or will they be reassigned as needed?
Teachers have been assigned to schools for the 2022-2023 school year based on their current assignment and seniority in that assignment, per the existing employment contract.
Will the number of teaching assistants and teacher aides currently in place be maintained or increased as needed if class size increase?
Teaching Assistant assignments will be determined in the spring. The district has traditionally used a formula for equity purposes that will require updating for the grade banded experiences. Teacher aides are assigned to students per their IEP.