District to Beef Up Science Programs in Middle Schools

The Capistrano Unified School District will spend $545,000 over the next year and a half to increase the number of science classrooms and teachers in its middle schools and increase science study in the eighth grade, trustees voted this week.

This year, the school board will set aside $155,000 for added science teachers and improved classrooms at some schools. The district will modify the remaining middle schools during the 1999-2000 school year for an additional $390,000.

One of the biggest changes to the science curriculum involves doubling the time eighth graders spend studying physical science--from one semester to two.

The increase in the number of science classes will allow all middle-school students to study more physics and chemistry.

"I would expect an advanced student to be able to have a conversation with me about atomic particles," said Patrick W. Levens, executive director for secondary instruction services.

Sixth-graders will focus on astronomy, geology and meteorology. Seventh-graders will study human biology and ecosystems.

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