Originally published Monday, February 11, 2019 at 06:03p.m.

Two Taylor Hicks Elementary school teachers are piloting a new, online handwriting curriculum they see as suitable to meeting the state’s new cursive writing standards.

Kindergarten teacher Shelley Soifer and second grade teacher Carrie Farnsworth introduced the curriculum to the Prescott Unified School District Governing Board on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The women were part of the committee that selected the curriculum that will be available for review for 60 days before the board votes to adopt it for the coming school year.

After careful research and work to come up with a district-wide teaching plan, Soifer and Farnsworth said they have started piloting two programs, the K-2 version is called “Handwriting Heroes” and the 3-5 curriculum is called “Scholastic Cursive Writing Fun.”

The lessons for both are offered in 15-minute intervals and utilize creative videos that enable students to watch and then copy how letters are formed in print and cursive.

Farnsworth was clear that handwriting, including cursive, is not just an exercise so that letters look “pretty on a page.” She and Soifer explained that these skills are considered integral to literacy.

Research indicates proper penmanship contributes to higher writing scores, boosts student confidence, and enables children to engage in meaningful communication and expression.

The one-time cost for this curriculum is $2,452.

A final piece of business on Tuesday was official congratulations to Prescott High School’s Student Council for its organization of the 2019 annual convention for the Arizona Association of Student Councils.

The two-day convention for more than 2,100 students from 157 high schools across Arizona was deemed a spectacular event that spotlighted not only the high school, but the entire city.

Student advisor Dan Tyler said the bow goes to the 36 student council members, freshman to seniors, who stepped up and showcased their creativity and invested their time to make it all happen.

“It brought tears to my eyes to see how many great kids there are. It was refreshing,” said Board President Tina Seeley, whose daughter, Sydney, the board Student Council representative and one of the three ceremony leaders throughout the convention who also starred in the introduction video.

“It was very clear that the kids who were there had a great time,” said new board member Deb Dillon.

“It was a monumental accomplishment. Thank you,” concluded District Superintendent Joe Howard.

Follow Nanci Hutson on Twitter @HutsonNanci. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2041.