BOE discusses middle school “strategic plan update” and curriculum changes


Wyatt Byers

The fall 2022 benchmark data showed that seventh and eighth grade literacy had increased.

During the KSD Board of Education held a meeting at Keating theater, Jan. 9, the KSD middle schools shared the fall 2022 middle school benchmarks. They showed how there had been a rise in students’ math and literacy scores, however, there was a concerning drop in math for students who identify as Black.

In addition, Miranda Dix, the KSD K-12 math and business facilitator, presented the new materials for KHS Computer Applications and Business Communications classes.  As well as KSD adaptations to new Missouri guidelines concerning 8th grade math and Algebra 1.

During the BOE meeting, the board was met with North Middle and Nipher Middle School. The fall 2022 benchmark data showed that 7th and 8th grade literacy had increased. Students of color had an improvement overall as well, however there was a drop in math statistics. Board Vice President Nikole Shurn showed concern about the drastic decrease in scores for black students; 60 percent of black students are under the math goal of 80 percent. “Behind every number is a student,” KSD Superintendent Dr David Ulrich said. The middle school principals agreed that there needs to be a change in the system and it’s in no way the students’ faults. 

Finally, the principals introduced their strategic plan update for the middle schools. These include a Multi-Tiered system of support, Desmos training for math teachers, and new math specialists at both middle schools. A big priority objective of this plan is fostering a climate of belonging and culture of dignity. This would include mental health surveys, support for students and staff, as well as affinity groups for both students and staff of color. The middle school principals, Dr Liberton and Dr Havener, mentioned they wanted to add communication and engagement to students, parents and the Kirkwood community. The middle school review ended with board members thanking the schools for their honesty and vulnerability.

Miranda Dix, KSD K-12 math and business facilitator, spoke to the board about the developing changes in the KSD curriculum. She presented a few class material changes to the board, among those being Computer Applications 1 and Business Communications. The Computer Applications 1 class teaches the basics of digital media use in the professional world. The Business Communications class was emphasized as well, stating that the “job interview” unit was essential and could benefit students in the future. The board will discuss their decision whether or not to make these classes mandatory along with staff consideration. 

Dix also reviewed the changes to the Math 8 and Algebra 1 course, detailing the specific units for each course and the new concept changes. The main change she went over was the requirement for 8th grade Algebra 1 students to take the EOC. A few board members and parents expressed concern about this change, worried that their student would fall behind in Algebra 2 due to these changes. A parent even mentioned their request for an Algebra 1 textbook to aid their children with studying and homework.