Benton STEM Elementary School pushes for classroom flexibility

3 years 8 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
JEFFERSON CITY - The FBI recently released violent crime statistics for Jefferson City. Some of the notable Jefferson City... More >>
10 minutes ago Tuesday, October 23 2018 Oct 23, 2018 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 7:33:00 AM CDT October 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — An 18-year-old Kansas City man has been found guilty of fatally shooting a man who he... More >>
50 minutes ago Tuesday, October 23 2018 Oct 23, 2018 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 6:53:30 AM CDT October 23, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - The uncle of the Columbia native who died in a car crash late Saturday night described his nephew... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A new reading program started by the Missouri River Regional Library encourages children to read 1,000 books... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 6:56:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Three air conditioning units were stolen from Discovery Church in Northeast Columbia Tuesday night. The pastor of the... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 6:01:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Parson appointed the new director of the Missouri Medicaid program, filling a permanent position after 22... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 5:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Renee Hoagenson and Vicky Hartzler are running against each other for a seat in the House of Representatives.... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A poster display regarding sexual orientation and gender identity at Gentry Middle School received mixed reviews from parents... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 4:06:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou forward Jontay Porter will miss the entire 2018-19 basketball season after tearing both the ACL and MCL... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A downtown Columbia restaurant discontinued an Election Day incentive after realizing it could be violating voter laws. ... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
O'FALLON (AP) — A suburban St. Louis man who has served as a Cub Scout den leader has been charged... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The United Nations' drug strategy of the past 10 years has been a failure, according to a major... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:17:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed charges Monday against the driver of a car which crashed late Saturday, killing one person. ... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 12:49:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Missouri Republican Party says a miscommunication caused 10,000 voters in the state to receive mailers... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 10:31:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has allowed an injunction to remain in place against part of... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:44:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police say one person died and three people were injured when an off-duty Kansas City police... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:48:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Three black trailblazers at the University of Missouri have been honored on the Columbia campus. The... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:36:12 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA -The next Mega Millions drawing will take place the night of Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. central time. ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:57:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 46°
8am 44°
9am 47°
10am 51°
11am 55°