School system preparing for shift to Common CoreFeb 12th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
When it comes implementing the new State-mandated curriculum— intended to get students college- and career-ready—Plaquemines Parish School District says the changes are daunting but they are ahead of the curve in preparing for them. All public schools in the state are required to fully switch over to Common Core Standards
for the 2013 – 2014 school year, as adopted in 2010 by the Louisiana Department of Education.
The Common Core Standards are a set of educational benchmarks developed by leaders in education and the National Governors Association, and have been adopted
in 45 states, including Louisiana. Focusing more on reasoning and critical thinking than memorization, the Common Core curriculum starts as early as kindergarten and slowly builds upon itself year after year. As early as kindergarten, students will begin developing the basic skills that will make them college- and career-ready.
Director of Secondary Education and Instructional Technology, Alberta Cousson, says that a large part of a successful switch to the new curriculum is professional learning for teachers. She explained that this summer, teachers can attend the Summer Common Core Institute, where they will be coached on how to create more critical-
thinking based lesson plans.
“The shift is in 2014 but we’re not waiting—we began the professional learning journey in March ,” said Cousson. “It’s a serious change; we’ll be going much deeper
into content, tests will have text dependent questions, and we’ll be selecting more high quality text [books].”
Sam Howe, Vice President of Planning and Analysis for Scholastic was in attendance at the February 4 PPSB meeting and explained to the board that because of the change, the district should anticipate a drop in performance scores until both students and teachers are fully acclimated.
Plaquemines Parish was rated as an A district for the 2011-2012 School Year. Now that the Common Core curriculum is setting the standards, there is a whole new rating system for all districts to get used to.
“Really every school will see scores drop; the average district should anticipate a 45 – 51 percent drop in Common Core scores,” said Howe. “It goes from memorization
to deep critical thinking with increased rigor.”
He cautioned that students in the “approaching basic” learning level will see the sharpest drop, and will therefore need the most help.