It’s a new way of teaching that focuses heavily on fewer subjects, sets benchmarks for students at each grade level, and forces students to explain their answers.
“Gone are the days when a teacher can go to the filing cabinet and pull out a lesson plan from five years ago, blow the dust off and use the same lesson plan,” said Holt. “Now we have to look at the needs of the students…instead of just teaching what’s there and (saying) ‘If they get it, fine – if they don’t get it, too bad.’”
It’s a change that Holt thinks could lead to an exodus from the classroom.
These teachers are learning how to make math an interactive, engaging experience for students under the new Common Core State Standards.
They were led by Ilea Faircloth, a staff training specialist for Bay County schools.
“With Common Core, if we are implementing the math practices with fidelity and to the intent of the mathematical Common Core writers, we are instilling in them the love of mathematics,” Faircloth said. “We are challenging them and pushing them. We’re not giving them answers – we’re making them think.”
And “It’s fun and it’s engaging, and it’s not boring,” Faircloth said.
Teachers in this training session are learning techniques that Faircloth says will work for students of all ages.
Common Core will have kids thinking out loud, discussing solutions with each other, and explaining their answers. Continue Reading →
This new way of teaching is designed to better prepare students for college and a career.
Thousands of teachers are getting help from the Florida Department of Education at training sessions this summer – studying a different way to guide student learning.
Principals and other school personnel are learning, too.
K-12 Deputy Chancellor Mary Jane Tappen says administrators need enough knowledge about the standards to recognize them in the classroom and lead teachers through the transition.
“It’s to help administrators recognize what a classroom where Common Core is being taught should look like and how to support teachers with resources and lesson study,” Tappen said this week during a training session near Pensacola. “So administrators have some skills but also some resources to help them.”
It’s a big change for long time educators like Bagdad Elementary School Principal Linda Gooch in Santa Rosa County. She’s worked in education more than three decades, seven of those years as an administrator.
Q: What are administrators learning at these summer institutes?
A: We are learning how to be the instructional leader that we need to be to make sure that our teachers are able to implement Common Core in the way that it should be.
We have to have a little bit of information about all of the different areas because it’s up to us to make sure that we are providing the professional development that our teachers need and encouraging our teachers to be leaders – to work with their grade levels and to work with other grade levels because we can’t do it all. Continue Reading →
New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett is behind a proposal to keep education funding at the state levels and enable states to withdraw from Common Core.
A New Jersey Congressman has proposed a bill that would allow states to bypass the strings which come with federal money.
During a Common Core briefing at the Cato Institute this week, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said he would introduce the LEARN Act – Local Education Authority Returns Now. The proposal would keep education funding at the state level instead of moving it through the federal government.
“It’s time to return our education policy back to local communities,” Garrett said. “It’s time to start putting actually the students first and not anyone else.”
The bill would also make it easier for states to rescind their support of Common Core State Standards.
“Many foster children don’t have the same opportunities to travel and learn new activities like their peers do,” said football star Derrick Brooks, who helped launch the camps in St. Petersburg this week. “These camps give them those opportunities.”
At the kick-off camp, 30 kids learned STEM skills in St. Pete. Campers in Jacksonville are teaming up to build robots this week.
Florida students showed greater improvement on end-of-course exams than FCAT 2.0 in results released today.
Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is responding like a disappointed dad to news that Florida students did a little bit better on their standardized tests this year, but not as well as he would have liked.
They show across-the-board improvement on EOC assessments, particularly in Biology 1 and Geometry.
In a press release, DOE said FCAT 2.0 Reading scores increased in grades 6, 8, 9 and 10. For FCAT 2.0 Mathematics, grade 4 showed improvement. In FCAT 2.0 Science, grade 5 showed improvement and grade 8 remained the same.
But the scores didn’t move enough to appease Bennett.
“The FCAT results are flat, and I find that personally unacceptable,” Bennett said. “I think we have to refocus our efforts on reading and making sure our students have the foundational skills necessary in mathematics.”
Bennett said the FCAT scores weren’t disastrous; they simply looked unimpressive compared to EOC assessment results that were very good.
(Florida Polytechnic University – the 12th in the system – doesn’t begin classes until August 2014.)
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) and The James Madison Institute are the groups behind the assessment.
“Overall, Florida public universities are on a prudent and successful course during these difficult economic times,” researchers wrote. “Significant challenges and difficult decisions over priorities remain. It is clear, however, that Florida has high potential to be a model for other states.”
While state funding for the system fell from $2.6 billion to $1.7 billion between 2007 and 2012, the report finds a six-year graduation rate of 66 percent – putting Florida in the top ten nationally.