District to Roll Out Innovative New Programs and Choice Academies For 2017-2018 School Year

August 2017

From an expanded K-8 program at Hidden Oaks Elementary School to a multimillion-dollar federal grant to fund exciting new Choice programs, the School District of Palm Beach County is gearing up for a school year filled with exciting learning possibilities for students.

Multi-ethnic group of students in classroom.  Focus on girls in foreground.

For the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, the District is introducing several new initiatives and programs designed to enhance student learning experiences in and out of the classroom:

New Choice Programs

  • Five new District programs will be funded by a three-year, $11.6 million Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The five magnet schools include two new International Baccalaureate (I.B.) elementary schools, one new I.B. middle school, one established I.B. middle school with a new STEM infusion, and one STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) middle school.

The five schools and grant-funded programs are:

  • Carver Middle School, Delray Beach: IB Middle Years Programme with STEM infusion
  • Congress Middle School, Boynton Beach: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)
  • Grove Park Elementary, Palm Beach Gardens: IB Primary Years Programme with STEM infusion
  • Howell L. Watkins Middle School, Palm Beach Gardens: IB Middle Years Programme with STEM infusion
  • Palmetto Elementary School, West Palm Beach: IB Primary Years Programme with STEM infusion

Students in MSAP grant-funded programs will have personal iPads and other opportunities unique to their schools, including collaborating with local artists on murals and participating in STEM and STEAM nights. Teachers in the schools will receive extensive professional development, paid for by the grant, to create some of the most highly qualified teachers in the District.

  • Registrations are now being accepted for rising sixth graders to join the newly expanded kindergarten through eighth grade program at Hidden Oaks Elementary School in Lake Worth. Hidden Oaks, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) school, has 110 openings for sixth grade students. Applications can be submitted until September 1, and all eligible students will be accepted until the seats are full.
  • The following District schools are introducing new Choice Programs for 2017-2018:
  • Emerald Cove Middle – Pre-IT
  • Equestrian Trails Elementary – STEM
  • Indian Ridge School – Auto Detailing
  • Lantana Middle – pre-Cambridge/AICE
  • Royal Palm Beach High – JROTC Air Force (in-house)
  • Santaluces High – Medical (in-house)
  • West Tech Education Center – Mechatronics

New District Initiatives

  • The District is expanding the Accelerated Math Program (AMP), an enhanced learning program that puts elementary school students on a fast track for high level mathematics classes in middle and high school. AMP includes the highest performing third, fourth, and fifth grade math students from all of the District’s elementary schools. By the end of third grade, AMP students will complete third grade math and half of fourth grade math.  That accelerated path continues through fourth grade, and by the end of fifth grade, AMP students will have completed the sixth grade advanced curriculum.
  • The District’s K-12 Holocaust Studies is getting two new textbooks, in addition to pledging to bring a Holocaust Survivor into every high school. The Holocaust Studies department is working with the Gross Family Foundation to accomplish this goal. They will also have more middle school Student Awareness Days to ensure that middle school students get to meet Holocaust Survivors and survivors of other genocides.

New Curriculum Initiatives

  • For Secondary Social Studies, the District has adopted new McGraw Hill textbooks for 6 – 12th grade. Courses include:
  • Sixth grade World History*
  • Seventh grade Civics*
  • Eighth Grade U.S. History*
  • 10th Grade World History*
  • 11th Grade U.S. History*
  • Economics with Financial Literacy
  • Geography
  • Government
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

*These books also come with a workbook that will be provided for each student over the course of the five-year adoption.

  • The District purchased the ABC CLIO program for all secondary teachers and students to be able to access primary and secondary resource databases. ABC-CLIO is a publishing company for academic reference works and periodicals mainly on subjects such as history and social sciences for educational settings.
  • Achieve 3000 will be expanded to include more secondary schools.
  • The elementary literacy pilot program started last year will be expanded for 2017-2018. Last year, it was only for second-graders at five schools. Now it will be for grades K-2 in 15 schools.

New Multicultural Initiatives

  • iStation en español will be used for students in K-5 (instead of K-3) in all Dual Language elementary schools.
  • WIDA model, for English Language Learners (ELL) testing, will be piloted at 12 schools (three from each region). The WIDA Consortium is a non-profit cooperative group whose purpose is to develop standards and assessments that meet and exceed the goals of No Child Left Behind and promote educational equity for English language learners.
  • Spanish standards-based report cards will be expanded for use in the following Dual Language elementary schools: Jupiter, Forest Hill, C.O. Taylor/Kirklane, and Gove.
  • ELL Success Coaches have been allocated to several high schools: Lake Worth, John I. Leonard, Palm Beach Lakes, and Boynton Beach. These new positions will be responsible for working with incoming ninth grade ELL students, collaborating efforts with core content teachers and bilingual guidance counselors, and aligning available resources to ensure academic success.

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