NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 10, 2013

Officials probe progress with state standards

(Continued)

“It’s a big leap for science teachers to have to focus on teaching reading,” she said. “I’m wondering about the area of writing, too, and how (non-language arts) teachers are being trained to handle these areas.”

Committee member Steven Cole said that, overall, he has no problem with the Common Core curriculum and realizes it’s here to stay. He said he liked its emphasis on collaboration, but voiced concern about its potential negative effect on faculty morale.

“It’s important to do what’s necessary to make sure these policy changes do not cause the passion for teaching to subside in any teacher,” he said. “We don’t want to lose that as a result.”

Committee member Daniel Koen brought up the potential for the standards to create an increase in the number of students at risk academically.

“Is there a projected downside we need to consider here?” he asked. “There are a number of kids who are struggling and don’t like school now. By implementing these higher expectations, could we be making that situation worse?”

Russin, the literacy coordinator, responded by saying “the goal’s not to push students forward but to make learning and education more accessible for them.” She added that the district is examining and improving tiered intervention support for at-risk students so that each student is able to access the curriculum.

Kinzly, who works as a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) coordinator, also argued that there was less of a risk to lose students because they prefer the types of learning methods promoted in the CCSS as opposed to more traditional, drill-like practices.

“The kids really hate the drills, but they like the collaborative methods of learning and different strategies to problem solving this (curriculum) provides,” she said.

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