Middle School could get more fun at Fresno Unified

September 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Choir is one of the programs cut back in recent year but choir and other electives are coming back to the middle schools in the Fresno Unified School District. Superintendent Michael Hanson says the district's ability to get a waiver from tight federal restrictions was the key.

"We are in possession of this waiver, which is like gold to us, to some of the laws that were jamming us before," said Hanson

As a result middle schools are getting a re-design. Core subjects will still be emphasized, but some of the supplemental classes, mandated under the federal no child left behind program, dealing with math and English will be dropped.

Teacher Malie Vanderwelde says additional classes were not effective. "And they were also stopping students from taking the elective classes that often times hook a kid and want to make a kid come to school. "

Along with choir and music, more drama, art, and foreign language classes will be available, and middle school students will be able to get high school credit for some classes. It will all be in line with the state's new Common Core Standards plan. The goal is to keep students motivated and in school.

The program starts Wednesday in 11 middle schools, and comes as the state legislature is considering dropping federal testing requirements for all students in California Schools, and replacing them with testing random samples of students.

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