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Curriculum Update

Growing demand and a shortage of qualified foreign language teachers has opened the door for commercial companies, including Rosetta Stone and Middlebury Interactive, to enter the educational marketplace.

More than 20,000 schools and districts have integrated Rosetta Stone into their curriculum since 1991.

Some educators are making a push to bring a renewed emphasis to social studies, as subjects like history and civics have taken a backseat to math, science and English in the nation’s rush to improve academic achievement.

Actress Mayim Bialik and Steven C. Schlozman, Harvard Medical School professor and “zombie expert,” teach zombie-themed science concepts.

Zombies will be feeding the minds of STEM students using a new program created by Texas Instruments that blends science and math concepts with popular television shows and movies. The “STEM Behind Hollywood” program provides free teaching materials that also feature forensics, space, and superheroes.

West Virginia educators now have access to an updated oral health curriculum for students, as written by the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources and Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health this past summer.

Edgenuity's iPad software allows educators in Henry County Schools to create customizable math content.

A new flexbooks program will be implemented this fall in math classrooms across a suburban Atlanta school district to keep up with changing state requirements and reduce textbook costs.

Henry County Schools is using Edgenuity software on newly purchased iPads in its math classrooms, nicknaming the program “flexbooks” because teachers and administrators will have the flexibility to create customizable math content for each classroom and student, says Assistant Superintendent Aaryn Schmuhl. Parents will also have access to the content online so they can help students with homework.

A new state law requires Arizona school districts to teach financial literacy skills. Arizona joins 24 other states that mandate some degree of K12 financial literacy instruction.

Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah, which require students to take one semester of financial literacy in high school, have the strongest laws while other states, like Arizona, are only required to blend financial literacy into other subjects, such as math or economics.

A student at the Beech Hill School in the Otis (Maine) School Department learns chemistry in a hands-on science lab over Skype.

Four students in Maine had the unique chance to study organisms on their shoreline this past year to help contribute research to a new chemical bond discovery that Vanderbilt University researchers made three years ago.

Two kindergarten classes are speaking Spanish throughout most of their days in a successful opt-in, dual-language program in the Tigard-Tualatin (Ore.) School District.

Since 2004, overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by more than 20 percent, according to a new report from STEMconnector, an online STEM news source. And the southern states of the U.S. have the highest concentration of students interested in STEM, at 36 percent, compared to other regions.

Released in February, the “Where are the STEM Students?” report revealed that mechanical engineering was the most popular major or career choice among STEM-interested students, at 20 percent, while biology was second at 12 percent.

Starting this April, 1,500 eighth graders across nine middle schools in the Ouachita Parish School System in Monroe, La., will learn the keys of character building and life skills through a new pilot program based on a fantasy fiction novel.