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LCPS Board of Education Discusses Middle School Curriculum Updates

LCPS Board 2022
LCPS
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Las Cruces Public Schools is currently assessing the curriculum offered to middle school students, focusing on establishing greater equitable education opportunities within the district.

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Wendi Miller-Tomlinson says current honors courses aren’t going away as had previously been rumored—rather LCPS will be adding additional curriculum.

“There's been a lot of talk about sixth grade honors courses and taking away honors courses,” Miller-Tomlinson said. “Actually, what we're doing is, we're not taking away we're adding, and we have some opportunities, some new courses we're developing.”

School Board President Ray Jaramillo says middle school administrators across the district have advocated for change. Administrators are asking for additional support for students transitioning in and out of middle school.

“This didn't come from out of the blue,” Jaramillo said. “This didn't come from the Public Education Department. This didn’t come from a mandate. This came from our middle school principals around talking to the experts in how we could do things differently.”

Miller-Tomlinson says the district is working to raise the rigor for middle school students—identifying and fixing educational gaps for those in accelerated programs. She noted the task is of particular importance when considering that rising sixth graders haven’t experienced a pandemic free year since second grade.

“Sometimes when students accelerate, they end up skipping a year,” Miller-Tomlinson said. “This happens a lot in mathematics, where they skip perhaps eighth grade math to get to algebra. And that's problematic because there are certain standards that they miss, and that can have detrimental effects.”

According to Miller-Tomlinson, LCPS is considering both student enrichment and depth of knowledge instead of simply relying on the standards for the following year. One example of new curriculum—a proposed secondary advanced English course that will allow students another acceleration opportunity.

“One of the really cool things...for both the old course and the new course, should we continue to develop that, is adopting materials, letting teachers choose the resources and then have them standard across the district and really looking at vertical alignment,” Miller-Tomlinson said.

LCPS Board Member Teresa Tenorio says the new changes feel a bit experimental for the district, though she did note the changes could help reduce the educational impact of COVID-19 in the classroom.

“I see it at the personal level with my own family members, whether it's a niece or my own daughter as far as where they are in their social and emotional development,” Tenorio said. “And you know, the fact that they've been remote or not having the in-person experience and behind masks, you know, it's difficult.”

Ultimately, Miller-Tomlinson says the district's goal is to continually improve the quality of education for students within the LCPS system.

“We're challenging students to go deeper in their knowledge of content and develop those skills,” Miller-Tomlinson said.