Over the past year many opinion articles and blog posts have debated the implementation of the Common Core. Some have said that the standards are too challenging or that change to our traditional way of teaching is unnecessary and even disruptive. At Bethpage, since the Common Core was passed nearly 4 years ago, we have kept our sights focused on each other and what we needed to do to improve learning in the classroom. And what are we seeing? Progress.
Too many of our students finish high school only to find they're not prepared for college or the workforce. New York is implementing a comprehensive effort to help turn that around. Our goal is to help students develop a deeper understanding of subject matter, learn how to think critically and apply what they have learned to the real world -- in short, to get them ready for life after high school.
All across the State, New Yorkers - from parents to educators to legislators to business and community leaders - have been hard at work to support the changes in instruction necessary for every student to be ready for college and career. EngagedVoices is a chance to share these perspectives from the field- the successes, challenges, ideas and struggles- so that we can learn from each other and together, we can help every student succeed.
The bottom-line goal became maximizing the vehicles for teachers to work together to learn new approaches.
In education news over the last year some have been concerned that there are too many changes happening in schools while others have questioned a need for any change at all. But in our district, we welcomed the new challenges brought by the implementation of the higher standards. We saw the need for fundamental change over six years ago. While any change is challenging, we have been turning the corner and our students are experiencing growth in their learning. To remain static would have meant being left behind.
Earlier this month, we received our students’ test scores, which showed some promising growth. Our staff is excited and encouraged that we are moving forward on the right track, and ready to take the next steps to have our students reach even higher levels of learning this school year. As a principal of a K-6 urban school in Rochester, I know that continuous improvement means providing my staff with the most meaningful professional learning opportunities and considering the most effective use of their valuable time.
Educational leaders from across the state share their thoughts and perspectives on the Grades 3-8 assessment results, local instructional practice and reflections for this coming school year.
When I was presented with the Expeditionary Learning (EL) modules, several doubts filled my mind…
My students will not know enough about Southern Sudanese water rights!
How will my students connect to a story about a girl in the Lowell mills?
Can my kids really understand a book that high school students usually read?
I love summer break, but likely not for the same reason as our students. During this time, administrators, teachers and support staff have uninterrupted time to think deeply, self-reflect, discuss and plan. One of the benefits of working in a school system is the fresh start that comes with every September. Along with new teacher/student relationships, new classes and new extra-curricular groups and teams, we get the opportunity to improve the way we help our students learn. This summer when our teachers prepare for the 2014-15 school year, they think about the following questions:
As an elementary principal, I always look forward to attending Network Team Institutes (NTI) to collaborate with colleagues across New York State, engage in dialogue about the transition to the new standards and share both the successes and challenges in my school. It is powerful and necessary to engage in such discourse if we are to advance teaching and learning so that all students can be successful.
My eleventh grade English Language Arts students (as well as a few seniors) took both the Common Core Regents exam and the Regents exam based on the former 2005 standards this June. Although preparing students for both tests was challenging, the growth and ultimate success of my students was well worth the effort.
The blue plastic recycling bin overflowed with stacks of paper: 3-hole-punched piles of vocabulary homework, reading quizzes, unit tests, and critical lens essays. I shut another metal cabinet drawer with a hollow clang.
Many of us teachers are notoriously bad at letting go of paper, of ideas, of what we hold dear. I count myself in this. In my cleaning I found a folder of materials from my student teaching practicum 13 years ago. Our filing cabinets (or, perhaps, our cloud storage) are often full.
As part of the transition to the Common Core standards, my school elected to adopt curricular modules and resources on EngageNY. With some anxiety, I held my breath and jumped in with both feet. As a 27 year veteran teacher, I found myself using my prep periods to preview the materials and took them home with me at night.