MOUNTAIN HOUSE – The governing board for Lammersville Unified School District held a study session with their superintendent on Wednesday, Aug. 21, to discuss plans to prepare for the Common Core State Standards.
At the request of the board, Superintendent Kirk Nicholas presented an outline that discussed the Common Core process and how it will work hand-in-hand with the ongoing revamping of the district’s strategic plan.
Common Core is a new learning process designed to develop a national standardized testing method. It’s been adopted in 49 states, including California. It makes it easier for a student to relocate to another state and not fall behind because of different standardized testing methods.
The test focuses on a student’s critical thinking as opposed to memorization and multiple choice answers. Its objective is to make students ready for college or a career at the conclusion of high school.
"The Common Core is a major shift (in teaching), but it’s also been intentionally designed to test districts to solve any (student) problems," Nicholas said. "My theory is if we build it together and sequence it out so everybody understands what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, we’ll be more successful in the short and long run."
He said his job will be to make sure the district’s teachers and principals have the tools to be successful in this new testing process.
"Tonight’s presentation was to identify some tools and starting that process," he said.
He recommended the district consider using a web based assessment program called Measures of Academic Progress or MAP. He said this would enable them to breakdown a student’s skill set and identify any weaknesses.
"Kids have to get comfortable taking tests on computers," he said. "We have to build the infrastructure and make sure all the pieces are in place. Eventually say here is the test and everybody will take it and we’ll get results and everybody will adjust from there."
The other process he plans to recommend is the use of a program called Rigorous Curriculum Design or RCD. He said this was a multi-year process that will help "everyone understand the big picture" they are trying to accomplish with a teacher curriculum design team leading the way.
He said his goal would be to propose to the school board the creation of a team of teachers, 20 in reading and 20 in mathematics, who would design the new curriculum and then train other teachers within the district.
He said they would probably start the curriculum design process in the first part of 2014 and use the summer to go over it with teachers before they go back into the classroom.
"Nothing is perfect, but it’s a great way to say these kids compared to all of the hundreds of thousands of kids this is where they stand (educationally) and that’s a good place to start," he said.
Micaela Vergara, LUSD school board president, said she found the study session informative.
"It was great," she said after the board meeting. "It’s a beginning. "
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.