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Brainerd School Board: Science requirements getting some adjustments

A slight adjustment will be made in regard to Brainerd High School students science requirements in accordance with the state of Minnesota requirements.

Ongoing discussion of how to change requirements throughout the 9-12 grades has been ongoing and was brought forward to the Brainerd School Board Curriculum Committee Friday afternoon.

Deb Lechner, director of teaching and learning, presented to the committee current requirements and adjustments.

“One of the latest tasks is in science and the new academic standards,” said Lechner who presented and has been working on the recommendation with Ron Gilbertson, BHS physics teacher, Nicole Harmer, A-Comp grades 10-12 science curriculum leader and Kris Zemke, A-Comp grade 9 science representative. “As you can see, we’ve had to add chemistry and physics for all students in our high school.

“And we’ve also been working with what is best for our students and we felt to provide a college chemistry or physics course may not be in their best educational choices, so instead we thought of adjusting to start taking a certain science class each grade level.”

Currently students are required to earn six science credits, freshman taking physical science, sophomore biology and two electives, usually saved for junior and senior years. Lechner said that would remain intact in the new recommendation.

But beginning with the class of 2016, she requested the approval of “embedding the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) 9-12 physics standards in the required grade 9 physical science course with a revised curriculum encompassing both MDE required physical science and physics standards.” Lechner said students must still earn six science credits.

The recommendation also included that students in the honors sequence will be required to enroll in both chemistry and physics in preparation for four-year college or university education, still required to earn six science credits.

“I currently teach physics to mostly juniors and seniors and I’ve taught ninth grade physical science,” said Gilbertson. “And I think it’s very doable to meet these standards at the ninth grade level.”

The committee approved the recommendation unanimously and will bring it forward at the next school board meeting.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).