Why does soap make bubbles? Why do we get goosebumps? Can a turtle live outside of its shell? How do you become a great inventor?
Young learners in the Fergus Falls Public Schools are challenged to approach science through curiosity and inquiry, and these are a few examples of topics they might explore in order to form scientific knowledge and skills. Science instruction is shifting from a relatively passive model to one of active investigation; rather than seeing experiments performed by their teachers, students are asking their own research questions, conducting investigations, recording their observations, using evidence and reasoning to form arguments, and communicating their findings with others.
In 2019, a committee of stakeholders from all corners of the state came together to revise Minnesota’s K-12 Academic Standards in Science. The result is a guiding document that, in large part, resembles the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which were formed in response to research and recommendations published by the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012). The new standards go beyond students’ understanding of core ideas to place emphasis on their active participation in scientific and engineering practices. Additionally, students are taught to recognize and replicate concepts and strategies that extend throughout the sciences and into other disciplines (math, language arts, etc.), such as “cause and effect”, “patterns”, and “systems”. Rather than teaching these concepts in isolation, instruction in several content areas better equips students to form connections and to build competence in applying strategies both in their classrooms and in authentic contexts.
Local businesses and organizations have an opportunity to get involved with and support K-6 classrooms through the Adopt-a-Class program in our elementary schools and middle school.
The program pairs each of the K-6 classrooms with a community partner. Adopt-a-Class provides a link between the schools and the business community, giving business people a look at what’s happening in schools and giving students a look into the world of work.
Together, each partner and teacher decide how they want to connect. Some partners do monthly activities with students, while others connect only once or twice during the school year.
Some of the ways that businesses have connected with classrooms are:
Providing tours for students
Demonstrating uses of technology
Accompanying students on field trips
Explaining businesses to students
Displaying student projects
Being pen pals with students
Reading with students
If you are interested in joining Adopt-a-Class this year, please complete this form. Businesses can adopt a specific classroom, if desired, or a classroom will be assigned. Each participating business pays $100 to its adopted classroom, with the money spent at the teacher’s discretion for educational projects, supplies or field trips.
On behalf of the Fergus Falls Public School District, I extend a warm welcome. We are honored that you have entrusted us with the care and education of your child.
The Fergus Falls Public School District is a special place. Our mission statement outlines our commitment to each and every child: “The mission of the Fergus Falls Public Schools is to prepare productive and engaged members of society by creating an environment where all students reach their full potential.”
What will your child’s experience be as a member of our school community? Children will be surrounded by adults who care about them. We will provide the necessary support to help ensure that each child is successful. Children will be challenged. That’s how new skills are developed and how learning, confidence and leadership is fostered.
In providing a robust 21st century learning environment - we emphasize the five “Cs” - Core Knowledge, Creative Problem Solving, Communication, Contributing Citizen and Character. These core competencies ensure that our students will be well-positioned for success wherever their dreams take them.
We pride ourselves on providing a rigorous academic curriculum with a diverse selection of electives. We support our students with a 1:1 technology initiative to augment instruction, we have strong vocational programs and excellent participation among our students in the arts. A large percentage of our students are involved in co-curricular activities and our programs are highly respected and competitive. In summary, we offer the family atmosphere of a small rural school combined with the opportunities typically only found in much larger districts.
Through the process of discovering and developing their talents, interests and skills, our students are going to make great memories, grow in confidence, become leaders in our school and community and form lifelong friendships. Once an Otter, always an Otter!
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