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New Year, New Curriculum

Los Altos schools are modifying several programs such as music and Khan Academy.

A new school year began Wednesday, complete with curriculum changes to programs, such as music, and the expansion of others, such as Khan Academy.

The Los Altos School District partnered with the Mountain View Whisman School District, , Los Altos Education Foundation, and other local organizations to provide more resources for the educational year, according to Alyssa Gallagher, assistant superintendent of instruction. But the music program changed to offer students instrument or choral time, not both.

“The elementary music program is one of the favorites of many parents and really shows that we try to provide a well-rounded program,” Gallagher said at Monday’s board meeting. “In the past, we had offered both instrument and chorus to students, but this year we can’t do that.” 

Other new aspects to the curriculum include Khan Academy spreading to grades five and six at all elementary schools and to some seventh and eighth grades, she said.

Khan Academy is a locally based educational website with videos, virtual lessons and other resources for learning various subjects. The founder is a Mountain View man, Salman Khan, who piloted the program in the 2010-11 school year for classroom use in the school district in classrooms at Santa Rita Elementary, Covington Elementary and Egan Junior High.

Khan is primarily used for its ability to reinforce math concepts and for students to learn at their own pace.

In April, Gallagher said, “We’re experiencing great success in the five classrooms.”

The team of teachers that , Gallagher said, will provide training for staff in implementing Khan in the classroom and using its resources. A part-time math coach will also be available during the implementation process.

“Khan Academy is the tool that we are using now, but I think it’ll open up all sorts of resources in the future,” Gallagher said. “Part of the training is for Khan but it will also open minds to all online resources moving forward.”

A digital design program has also been modified for sixth grade students.

“It looks very impressive and comprehensive,” said Bill Cooper, president of the school board. 

The program was normally offered in the fine arts block as an overview in a 12-week period, Gallagher said. But, now it will be a yearlong exposure.

To see other modifications and additions to the curriculum, click the PDF to the right.

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