Harrisonburg City School Board hears updates on curriculum, Dual Language Program, and HHS2

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The Harrisonburg City School Board met Tuesday night for a work session to discuss a number of key issues, including curriculum changes and staff shortages.

Among the items discussed were changes to the African American History curriculum. The state Board of Education has approved changes for the upcoming year in regards to how African American history is being taught and technical changes coming to History SOL tests.

The board heard examples of these changes and plans for how to prepare teachers for them.

An example of a technical change in the Virginia Studies course.
An example of a technical change in the Virginia Studies course.(HCPS)

The technical edits for all impacted courses will be implemented this upcoming school year.

The board also discussed a shortage of dual language teachers and changes that will be made if the positions are not able to be filled.

“We’re struggling to find between two and four additional teachers for our dual language program,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Richards. “At this point, the worse case scenario is that we would not start dual language in kindergarten for four of our elementary schools.”

The school district asks anyone who knows of such teachers to contact their HR department. They are also casting a wider net to find teachers for that role.

“We’re doing some targeted recruitment from for example Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico,” Richards said. “We’re beefing up those efforts and that should help with this as well.”

The board heard an update on the second Harrisonburg High School. City Council’s approved four-cent tax increase to go toward construction funds for the project. Richards says construction will resume on July 1, and he is hopeful the project will be completed by the start of the 2023 school year.

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