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'Excited and anxious' as teachers prep for new programs

Elementary and middle school students returning to class on Aug. 19, won't be the only ones on their campuses learning a thing or two. Officials and teachers in the Mountain View Whisman School District will also be hard at work familiarizing themselves with a number of recently introduced and brand-new programs.

The district will continue to fine-tune its Explicit Direct Instruction and Systematic English Language Development programs, while introducing the new national Common Core curriculum standards and expanding its transitional kindergarten offerings.

"I think we're both excited and anxious for the beginning of the implementation of Common Core state standards," MVWSD Superintendent Craig Goldman said. "We're continuing to make progress with Explicit Direct Instruction and Systematic ELD."

Kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers will begin incorporating the Common Core standards for math in their classrooms in the coming school year, Goldman said. And the new English standards will be adopted district-wide.

Also, a new joint powers agreement between Mountain View Whisman, the high school district and the city means that the district will continue to receive revenue at least $2.87 million a year from the Shoreline Community for the next 10 years. That, coupled with an improving economy, means the district's future is looking brighter than it has since the recession hit.

"We are are grateful that the state appears to be moving into a period of economic stability and improvement," Goldman said.

In addition to EDI, Systematic ELD and the Common Core, the district is also expanding its transitional kindergarten program, which is a cross between preschool and kindergarten and designed to help children smoothly transition into their school careers.

Last year, children born between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 were eligible for the new program. This year, students born between Oct. 2 and Dec. 2 will be able to enroll.

According to Goldman, only about half of those students who were eligible this year enrolled in the program. Nonetheless, the district still had enough to open another classroom. The new class will be held at Theuerkauf Elementary School and brings the total number of transitional kindergarten classes in the district to three.

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