Benton STEM Elementary School pushes for classroom flexibility

3 years 3 months 1 week ago Tuesday, February 10 2015 Feb 10, 2015 Tuesday, February 10, 2015 1:13:00 PM CST February 10, 2015 in News
By: Amanda LaBrot, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Parents and administrators at Benton STEM Elementary want more flexibility in their specialized classrooms.

Becoming a small autonomous school, like magnet schools Ridgeway Elementary and Lee Expressive Arts School, would give them that opportunity. Some concerned parents attended the Columbia School Board meeting Monday to show their support for the possible project.

The concept of small autonomous schools was first presented to the Columbia Board of Education in 2010 by then-assistant superintendent of elementary education Peter Stiepleman. Small autonomous schools are still public schools, part of the school district and must follow the same federal and state guidelines as regular schools, but have independence in staffing, budget, curricular materials and assessment, governance and school calendar, according to Columbia Public Schools.

The STEM specialist at Benton said the school is most interested in the curriculum freedom.

"With our STEM program, we're looking to do things a little bit differently," said Dr. Heather McCullar. "A lot of that means changing either the curriculum tools that we're using or changing the instructional practices that we're doing. It's kind of hard to make those changes when you're still needing to follow along with the same guidelines that the other schools do."

Parent Brian Jackson said the STEM program and the possibility of becoming an autonomous school was a big reason he enrolled his son at Benton two years ago. 

"Everyone's really excited when there's a chance that 'my kids could really learn more' because of the autonomous schools program in conjunction with STEM," Jackson said.

But Benton's transition's is on hold from the Columbia School Board. Michelle Baumstark, community relations director for Columbia Public Schools, said the STEM program is still too new to transition into autonomy.

"The magnet schools that we have have been magnet schools for decades," Baumstark said. "They've had those specific focuses for quite some time. So it made sense for them to be ready, be prepared to move forward with discussions about being a small autonomous school. Ridgeway was our first small autonomous school back in 2012. Lee became a small autonomous school in 2013."

Baumstark said Benton is still in transition as new programs and STEM curriculum are implemented, but Jackson and McCullar said their school is ready for the next step.

"We've been doing it for about four years now," McCullar said. "I think we're getting to that point where we're ready to continue to step outside the box and think outside the box in terms of how we teach. We've already made lots of changes, and we're starting to see good growth with our student scores. So I think now is kind of the time for us to keep looking into more changes." 

Jackson said, "Back in March of 2014, when my son was in kindergarten, they announced that the autonomous school program was on hold. At that time, they were going to be looking for a new superintendent, so there was going to be a transition in leadership. So we totally understood that. We came back this year and kind of asked about it, and it was still on pause. We realized that time is ticking as it keep going on."

Baumstark said she doesn't have a timeline for when autonomy might be implemented.

"Now's not the time," she said. "We're not saying never. We're saying not yet. We've got to get to a point where those program implementations are not necessarily new program implementations. It's something that as soon as we feel like we're in a good position, we've got the curriculum in a good place, that everybody is focused and doesn't feel like we're pushing another thing onto them, we can move forward."

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
HARRISONVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old northeast Missouri boy fought off an attempted abduction by hitting the... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 8:53:46 AM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating an early morning crash on I-70 Westbound. It caused major backups... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 8:47:00 AM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - On Thursday, the Columbia Airport Advisory Board announced the TSA approved a security screening lane to open by... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:41:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- May is known for Mother’s day, Memorial Day and in Missouri, the start of tick season. “May, June... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:21:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council discussed a recent engineering study today centering on increasing traffic flow east of Columbia.... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:11:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is encouraging people to practice safe boating ahead of Memorial Day weekend.... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 6:55:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - After two months without a police department, New Bloomfield finally has one thanks to the city of... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:50:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after Athletic Director Jim... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:54:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in Sports
MONROE CITY - Some people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease fight back, as did Michael Crager, the founder of Rock Steady... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:18:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services made changes to a family planning program, which the... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:56:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In sometimes heated testimony, members of a Special House Investigative Committee looking into the Eric Greitens... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:54:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A report on a statewide rape kit audit shows that there are at least 4,889 untested sexual... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 3:23:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - With the holiday weekend approaching, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Save Our Air Medical Resources (SOAR)... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – More than 36 million drivers will hit the road during Memorial Day Weekend, according to AAA. Just... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 12:20:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A statewide program bringing together prisoners and puppies is celebrating a major milestone. A four-month-old redbone... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:15:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he thinks Kim Jong Un wants to do "what's right" but says it's... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - A Huntsville man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday and received a life sentence with no chance... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:37:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) through the Mid-Mo Adult Learning Center honored 25 adults at... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:10:00 AM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 70°
12pm 82°
1pm 84°
2pm 85°
3pm 85°