Ed Affairs Committee Presentation March 2021
With co-chair Pamela Henry presiding, Educational Affairs convened over Zoom on March 16. The agenda included two items: Proposed change to the English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum at Cedarbrook Middle School, and mental health support for students.
Director of secondary education Charlene Collins presented the proposed ELA changes at Cedarbrook. The current curriculum includes English 7 and 8, English 7 learning support for students with IEPs, enriched English, ESL, and reading class for students with difficulty in reading comprehension. A literacy workshop is also available in lieu of a world language. The proposed changes call for combining grade-level and enriched English classes. English 7 and 8 would be aligned with the Common Core state standards and emphasize writing. Students will have core and independent texts from which to choose, and book clubs will be integrated into the ELA curriculum so students can engage with different types of texts. The proposal eliminates tracking by ability.
Director of Student Services Dr. Cheryl Horsey and several organizations who partner with the district spoke about trauma and COVID-19’s impact on the brain. Lakeside NeuroLogic Initiative Director Joshua MacNeill delivered an in-depth presentation of how trauma impacts the brain and what it means for student behavior in the classroom. He stressed it’s also important for people who work with students to understand how certain behaviors can manifest themselves as a result of trauma. Representatives of Effective School Solutions (ESS) presented about the traumatic impact of COVID-19 on students and the mental health continuum’s best practices to support students. They also reviewed results of a mental health readiness program which was conducted in the district. One ESS recommendation was to create a comprehensive mental health action plan to support students.
The next Educational Affairs meeting is Tuesday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. Join the meeting at cheltenham.org/zoom.