In May, the Riverside District 96 school board voted unanimously to approve a new science curriculum for the district’s elementary schools.

The total cost of the new Full Option Science System (FOSS) was tried out on a pilot basis in 2012-13 and was received enthusiastically by both students and teachers. The new FOSS curriculum stresses hands-on learning, critical thinking and is inquiry-based. It will replace an older curriculum the district has been using for the last 13 years. A teacher committee helped pick the FOSS program.

“We need something new,” Blythe Park School fifth-grade teacher Kurt Preble told the board when the FOSS proposal was first presented to the school board in April.

It will cost the district about $100,000 to introduce the FOSS curriculum. The $6,500 in annual replenishment costs appear to be about equal to what the district is paying for its current science curriculum in the elementary schools.