Waco ISD hopes new pilot program will help Pre-K students and fu - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Waco ISD hopes new pilot program will help Pre-K students and future

WACO - America's youth may be falling behind in math and science, but Waco ISD is doing its part to keep up. Next year, nearly a thousand Waco ISD Pre-K students are being given a unique and innovative way to learn through a new science-based curriculum.

School district officials say it is important to help the younger students early, while they are still developing their learning skills.

"At the very young ages of three and four years old children are learning foundational skills. They are learning new concepts and they are focusing on things that are naturally around them," Waco ISD Executive Director of Elementary Education, Dr. Terri Patterson, said.

The new science-based pilot program, known as STEMscopes, will be added to more than 50 Waco ISD classrooms with help from Rice University. A new program like this would cost a school district thousands of dollars, but since Waco ISD will be the only one in the country testing it out next school year, they won't have to worry about paying for books, testing, and teacher training.

Teachers believe the program will be a big help for their little learners.

"It is a fabulous way to supplement what we already have in our classroom with our curriculum and that the extra training the extra resources will be very beneficial for our students," Dean Highland Elementary teacher Alison Davis said.

School district officials say the program is going to involve a lot of hands-on learning from things like diagrams to computers to even IPads. They believe the impact of the program is going to have long term affects on their students.

"They are going to be very engaged in learning. They are going to be able to use that natural curiosity to ask questions. To think at a higher level, and be able to implement some of the things that they might not have the concepts to build on before," Dr. Patterson said.

Thursday night the school board will vote on whether or not they will approve the program. Dr. Patterson is confident that will happen. She says if the program is successful, it will continue in the future since the district will already have most of the resources in place.
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