We’ve examined the Common Core State Standards initiative quite a bit lately and for good reason. The Common Core alignment is slated for this school year in a number of states and educators the country over are working feverishly this summer to understand the new standards so they can better serve their students when the school year begins.
In Tennessee, teachers have until the 2014-2015 school year to align with the standards, but that isn’t stopping them from working overtime to improve their teaching methodology. More than 400 teachers from Middle Tennessee refreshed and honed their math skills at a Common Core training session at Freedom Middle School in Franklin.
Kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers delved into math studies, and high school teachers attended even more extensive workshops that lasted the entire week. As teachers ready themselves for the shift in curriculum standards, it is important to note the effort they are making to ensure students will have the best resources and instruction at their disposal in a nationwide effort to revamp our educational system.
In Tennessee, much like other states, the training sessions are part of a massive statewide effort to train teachers to better educate students in math. Teachers will be training in English and language arts in July.
This is the biggest training session in Tennessee history, said Emily Barton, state assistant commissioner of education. And, it is peer led, Barton added.
All Tennessee school districts will be implementing Common Core standards by 2014-2015. The FSSD will implement the standards in math and English/language arts next school year, said Sharon Cooksey, an FSSD facilitator for curriculum and professional development. While there are teachers from Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson County and Murfreesboro City at the sessions, a majority of teachers are from FSSD, she added.
Some critics have been wary of the standards as instituting a lower common denominator rather than a more challenging curriculum, but Cooksey described them as a baseline.
Common Core standards are lists of expectations, or standards that students should know by grade level to be college or career ready upon graduating high school, and it is not a federal initiative, Cooksey said.
“It’s exciting to see teachers all focused on the same content and learning,” Cooksey said. “It’s a new way of doing things, but it’s not dictating how or the resources you need to achieve the goal.”