By Michael Richardson
Uniondale School District officials revealed a number of new courses coming to students in the 2023-24 school year at the Feb. 14 Board of Education meeting, including new Advanced Placement courses.
District Science Director Arthur Registre said Uniondale will offer AP Environmental Science beginning in September. The course will join AP Biology, Chemistry and Physics among the district’s offerings.
Additionally, the science department will once again host a district-wide summer science innovation camp this year for students in grades six to 11. Robotics was the likely theme, Registre said.
Rhonda Taylor, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the social studies department is looking to implement AP Human Geography. Also, teachers in the mathematics and English Language Arts departments hope, she said, to increase their Advanced Placement offerings as well.
“All that we do is really around ensuring that scholars have opportunities, scholars have access to high leverage curriculum work, and of course, to make sure that our scholars end their time with us with an advanced diploma,” Taylor said.
Superintendent of Schools Monique Darrisaw-Akil said district officials were considering implementing the new AP African American Studies course. “We’re looking into it,” she said. “There’s a lot of debate about the course and also the revisions that were made,” she said.
Darrisaw-Akil said an accreditation committee and Advanced Placement committee, the latter of which comprises guidance counselors, directors and teachers, would decide whether to adopt the program and, if deemed necessary, revise the course.
Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blocked the teaching of AP African American Studies in the Sunshine State, saying the College Board was advocating a “political agenda” with the course’s discussion of queer theory. In response, the College Board released a statement outlining several curriculum revisions and posted an official course framework.
DeSantis’ move has drawn the ire of several lawmakers, including Florida Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, who posted a tweet that read, “Ron DeSantis wants to pretend that Black history isn’t American history.” Other officials have heralded the decision, with Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Díaz Jr. writing in a tweet, “We do not accept woke indoctrination masquerading as education.”
The Uniondale board also held a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting at Michigan State University in February that left three victims dead and five others injured the day before the meeting. Natalie Longsworth, the board vice president attended Michigan State University and said she was “very, very heartbroken” by the mass shooting. The shooting at Michigan State reignited the discussion of firearms access in America. “I think there needs to be more of an effort on the part of our elected officials to determine what legislation needs to go into place surrounding access to firearms,” Longsworth said.
She also spoke on how the Uniondale School District prepares for acts of violence. “I believe that in Uniondale that we have a very strong team, a very strong director of security,” Longsworth said, adding that the district provides safety training to employees.