CMS instructor chosen by state

CONYERS - A Conyers Middle School teacher is one of 48 Georgia teachers chosen to serve on a committee that will try to improve the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Curriculum.

Brian Travis, a business education instructor at the school, was one of more than 100 Georgia teachers to apply to sit on the committee. He was selected to serve on the Business and Computer Science committee - one of six committees in all.

"I am passionate about the subject matter I teach and wanted to be able to have input about the middle school curriculum that I will be delivering to my current and future students," said Travis, who's been a teacher at CMS for five years. "I also enjoy working with other professional educators in hopes that I may learn new ideas and strategies, along with hearing different philosophies that will challenge my personal outlook upon the curriculum and education as a whole."

In 2003, Travis was a member of the Middle School Business and Information Technology Curriculum revision committee. The draft the committee created was put on hold, however, when the state's curriculum changed from the Quality Core Curriculum Standards to Georgia Performance Standards.

Since the move to GPS, committees now can make changes that will be relevant to the new curriculum.

Having started in September, the committees are meeting once a month until January to improve the program.

"Up until now, we have met as a committee three times, with each meeting lasting eight hours," Travis said. "We started out referencing Georgia's high school curricula so we could allow for vertical teaming and an ease of transition from middle school to high school."

He said this will prepare the middle school students for the Business and Computer Science Program concentration at the high school level, which will have seven pathways that the students can choose from.

"For a student to be a pathway completer, they will have to complete three courses successfully within a pathway," Travis said.

After looking at the high school level, Travis said the team then researched other school systems in the country.

"Once all of the information was in front of us, we then discussed the topics that we felt were important at the middle school level," he said. "There is a lot to consider when developing the curriculum. You have to look at which grade levels are being offered at the middle schools, the length of each class and the region of each middle school, just to name a few."

The group also created a list of topics for each grade level and began writing the curriculum, composed of critical component, standards, elements and academic standards.

"When we meet again as a committee, we will revise and tweak the rough drafts we have," Travis said.

The team plans to have a final draft of the new curriculum by Jan. 5.

"We are preparing students for the 21st Century, which has high demands academically, along with 21st Century skills and soft skills," Travis said. "It is one big learning opportunity."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.