[Masthead] Fair ~ 59°F  
High: 77°F ~ Low: 53°F
Monday, Sep. 26, 2016

USD 235 moving toward Common Core Standards

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

UNIONTOWN -- The Uniontown USD 235 School Board spent the lion's share of its regular monthly meeting on Monday hashing out the details of the district's transition to Common Core Standards, a new model of instruction.

Nationally, CCS is designed to provide educators with a consistent and clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so both teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.

The standards are designed to be relevant to the real world and to reflect the knowledge and skills students need to carry with them to college or careers.

"The state of Kansas, like all states, is transitioning from their local and state standards to Common Core Standards," USD 235 Superintendent Randy Rockhold said. "They were developed through a collaborative effort by a governor's task force."

Rockhold said the aim is to reach common ground, so in cases where kids move around the country, they can pick up their education where they left off.

"The task force was made up of a broad spectrum of educators, so it was not a top-down development," Rockhold said. "It was people in the field trying to look at what really would be best to prepare kids for workplace readiness or college readiness. That is the emphasis of the Common Core Standards."

USD 235's implementation plan begins Friday, with literacy training for kindergarten through second-grade teachers in the morning and all-staff literacy training in the afternoon. On Nov. 14, kindergarten through second grade teachers will begin deconstructing anchor standards in reading and math.

"After they are deconstructed, then we will later write lesson plans and deal with the actual instructional strategies that are going to be used to implement these standards," Rockhold said.

On Jan. 2, 2013, teachers from West Bourbon Elementary and Uniontown High School will undergo Habits of Mind training, a philosophy of learning featuring 16 points to successful learning, such as persistence, striving for accuracy, managing impulsivity and even finding humor.

Feb. 1, all UHS and Uniontown Junior High School teachers will undergo content area training and all district staff will partake in Depth of Knowledge training, which concentrates on recall, skills and concepts, strategic reasoning, and extended reasoning.

On April 5, all staff will take instructional strategy training, followed by content area collaboration and deconstruction of standards April 6 through May 7. The district plans to implement Common Core lesson plans at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. Rockhold said the lesson plans will be posted online, so that parents, students and teachers are all on the same page and the school's goals are transparent.

"We are trying to make sure everyone here is trained and ready for this process," Rockhold said.

One of the major objectives is to make sure students have a strong depth of knowledge, rather than just relying on memorization, which fades with time, he added.

"So we are no longer just looking for recall ability or just general skill or concept level learning," Rockhold said. "We are really going to be focusing on making sure those students can actually take the information and reason with it. Instead of just learning how to add and subtract, we want them to learn to be persistent. We want them to learn to listen with understanding and empathy. It takes both of those to be effective in whatever it is you choose to do. This makes so much sense; this is what we should have been teaching kids their entire educational careers."

Rockhold said a big part of CCS is teaching students to think strategically and read for purpose.

"It's the right thing to do to prepare kids to be successful in life and in our democratic society," Rockhold said.

In other business, the board approved the Uniontown High School Future Farmers of America's five-day trip across Kansas to Denver to study agricultural and farming techniques in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado. The trip has become a bi-annual event for the FFA and Rockhold said students must meet certain community service, leadership and academic requirements to attend.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: