Teachers faced with Common Core implementation must shift their instructional methods to align with new models for literacy and mathematics. At Pinellas County Schools in Largo, Fla., administrators are moving to a systemic professional development approach to better support staff during the transition.
While the goal of the Common Core initiative is to establish clear, measurable standards for K12 students, an educational change is imminent. And speech and debate are considered the kinds of skills that will help students meet or master the standards.
To add to the busy schedules of high school principals and assistant superintendents, they go door-to-door to speak with students—and their parents—in the Clark County (Nev.) School District. These students have dropped out of high school, and administrators are encouraging them to return and pursue a diploma.
U.S. education is increasingly going global: The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its first-ever, fully articulated international strategy, designed to strengthen schools and advance the nation’s international priorities.
Many social studies teachers are nervous about the coming of Common Core State Standards. With so much emphasis placed on literacy, social studies teachers fear they will see content slashed to leave time for meeting English’s non-fiction standards.
Already reeling from a lack of attention from the benchmarks put in place by No Child Left Behind, those devoted to social studies feel like they are once again on the outside looking in. However, could the implementation of Common Core actually bring social studies back into focus?
“Every day on my way home from work I ask myself one question: ‘Did I do anything today that affected the life of one child positively?’” says Rock Hill (S.C.) Public Schools Superintendent Lynn B. Moody.
According to Wilton (Conn.) School District Superintendent Gary G. Richards, most people who move to Wilton do so for its high-quality schools, which has struck a successful balance between educating its most advanced learners and ones who need more help.
STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education has been a major component to 21st-century learning in K12, but some say the acronym needs to be more inclusive. Several groups created by educators have emerged to support the push for the addition of an “A” to STEM, for STEAM, to represent the disciplines of art.
School psychologists are often the first professionals to reach students with mental illness, and part of their role is to help identify threats that can lead to events such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead, including school psychologist Mary Sherlach, who was one of the first responders. But as district budgets are cut and school psychologists retire, their difficult and crucial role working with troubled students may be endangered.
The American Association of School Administrators is doing its part to improve leadership development. Between January and May, AASA consultants are providing professional development for principals and assistant principals in the Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools.
“People are thirsty for an opportunity to learn everything that belongs to their jobs, from budget and finances to curriculum and instruction to school operations,” says AASA Director of Leadership Development MaryAnn Jobe.
Most principals today are hard pressed to find time for the multitasking they are expected to do, from overseeing the daily operation of their schools and interacting with parents to evaluating teachers and providing them with professional development to do their jobs at a high level.
To teach Common Core effectively, teachers will have to share such teaching methods within their school districts, says Richard Vacca, professor emeritus of Kent State University and a co-author of Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum. “Traditional professional development was always kind of an add-on,” Vacca says. “The difference (with Common Core) is that it’s going to be ongoing and embedded within a district rather than” about bringing an outside person in, he says.
Whatever approach is used, writing that upholds the standards of Common Core is demanding, acknowledges Gretchen Schultz, principal assessment editor for ELA at CTB/McGraw-Hill and a content specialist in developing ELA assessments.
In the YouTube video, “Keeping Up With the Common Core: the Latest from the Field,” Schultz spells out how teachers must shift their focus to meet the requirements of the Common Core.