By BOB COUPLAND
SOUTHINGTON - Southington Schools started new programs focused on enhancing student learning in the past two years.
Superintendent John McMahan said the Mark Forget's Max Teaching Method has been used, which focuses first on writing as part of learning.
"Math and reading are important, but his philosophy is first you need to be able to write well, which will mean you will be able to read and do math well, too," he said.
McMahan said the district moved to full inclusion for special education students.
"We moved to full inclusion, which means no separate special education classroms. All students are part the social and educational aspects of learning. The special education students are part of everything with the same opportunities," he said.
He said special education students have an enrichment period in which they work with the special education teacher.
Also in place are teaching techniques that are activity-based, using more visuals and movement.
For elementary grades, First in Math was started, an online program that aides students in getting acquainted with math processing skills at a younger age.
"It's elementary-based and was a huge thing we did with the curriculum," McMahan said.
K-12 Principal Amy Bruzanko led the guided reading program for language arts and English at the elementary grades to get students better prepared for middle school language arts.
"We want our students to be better prepared as they move through the grades and prepare for testing at each grade level," McMahan said.
McMahan said the district went to Everyday Math, which has a philosophy of building upon math knowledge grade level to grade level.
"We like it because it builds upon what they have learned in a better way," he said.
Last summer, the district added a new computer lab led by Technology Coordinator Steve Rudge.
McMahan said he is proud the district was selected as a Bronze Medal High School by U.S. News and World Report. The elementary school became a "School of Promise" for test scores, and the middle school earned a "Value Added Award."