A few more discussions from Collins-Maxwell school board

Marlys BarkerTri-County
Times Editor

A certified personal trainer spoke to the Collins-Maxwell school board members at their most recent meeting about bringing a cardio and strength training program to the sixth through 12th grade students in Maxwell next school year.

Tawnia Leslie said the program will not cost kids anything. She wants the older kids to have something like what elementary principal Chad Grandon is offering to the elementary kids.

Carrying her own liability insurance, Leslie was asking the board for use of the school to hold classes in the morning, before the school day starts.

School board member Brad Plunkett said he thinks it’s a great idea, but said he’d like to see the program run a three-month trial first to see if kids participate, then the board can reconsider it on possibly a more permanent basis from there.

Also at the meeting with Leslie was Kristen Kane, who said she’s going to start a tumbling recreation program in the Maxwell community next fall. Along with it, there will be a competitive team.

Kane currently coaches a club tumbling team in Ankeny. “We’ve had great success and want to bring that here to the community,” she said.

She hopes to use the school’s facility; she has her own insurance. Tumbling would be an evening program, she said.

The school planned to check with its insurance company about how letting that program have use of the school would impact the school’s insurance coverage.

New curriculum

Also at the last board meeting, the board listened to proposals for new curricula for the elementary and for the upper level language arts classes.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Lane said it’s been too long since the district has updated the curricula, which with literacy at the elementary level, should be done every three to five years. It’s been 10-11 since anything has been done.

A team was pulled together, Lane said, to review curricula during the past 6-8 weeks. That is usually, he said, a four- to six-month process. Officials from Heartland AEA provided tremendous assistance to the Collins-Maxwell group.

Grandon said the curriculum that seemed to be the strongest, which is being used by several area schools (Ballard, Urbandale and soon Roland-Story) that really like it, is “Wonders,” which integrates science and math with literacy instruction. “It is ‘night and day’ different from the current curriculum,” Grandon said, noting that the current curriculum is so outdated that teachers are supplementing much of it.

Principal Jordan Nelson said the new language arts curriculum at the high school will be the same one Bondurant currently uses and will have a program that allows teachers to check and grade papers a lot quicker, and that assists in checking for plagerism. “It also has a feature that helps students write better papers,” he said.

Next year, the goal will be to get a new math curriculum for the high school.