Madison Parents, District Leaders Concerned Over Curriculum Changes

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - Parents of Madison City middle school students clashed with district leaders Wednesday night over proposed changes to the district's curriculum.

A committee has been tasked with finding a way to balance state requirements with Madison's unique needs.

The district will be required to implement enrichment and intervention courses as well as college and career readiness courses.  District leaders say that's tough, because there aren't enough hours in the school day.

"It also has a 20-hour online component as well as computer applications and financial literacy. So that's a new mandate, that's a one-credit course," said Camille Wright, Director of Secondary Education with Madison City Schools. "Trying to figure out the best place to put that in our curriculum has been a challenge, because we're going to have to give something up in order to do that."

Parents raised concerns Wednesday evening that band and other electives would be lost.

"The band program is very near and dear to my heart and one of the concerns is that as we try to increase the rigor in the academic portions of our schooling, that we're not sacrificing the importance of the fine arts program," said Janna Kucera, a parent.

One proposed plan for the band would split the Symphony band, Concert band, and Percussion students into separate classes during the day, while bringing them all together for an after school practice once a week.

However it still leaves questions for parents of students who want to take yearbook, chorus, or other electives.

Other proposals include bringing back the honors courses that were discontinued a year ago, when the district put in place the Common Core Standards curriculum and accelerated 7th and 8th grade math.

District leaders say they can't hand down answers to parents about what the new schedule and curriculum will look like until they get answers from the state.

In the meantime, they ask parents to continue to offer their feedback and ideas.