Burton moving forward with Common Core standards
An update on the district’s transition from the California State Standards to the Common Core state standards was just one of the agenda items at Thursday’s Burton School District board meeting.
Presented by Mitzie Styles, director of academic and professional development, the presentation included information on Depth of Knowledge levels — a teaching model used to align standards with assessments, focusing on the content while ensuring teaching is being done at a level that promotes student achievement.
“As part of our implementation to the new Common Core standards, all grade level teams have met and have become acquainted with the new Common Core standards for math,” Styles said. “Our next steps for implementation include vertical articulation, prioritizing standards and writing units of study.”
As part of the district’s work in Common Core standards, teachers and principals will become more familiar with the Depth of Knowledge matrix which is more widely used, she said.
A staff development day set for Friday will have kindergarten to sixth grade staff focusing on the math implementation, she said, while seventh to 12th grade teachers work with a consultant from data teams. Professional development will focus on helping teachers design lessons and tasks for students.
“Mrs. Styles is working closely with me to define the implementation plan with great attention to all stakeholders,” said Sharon Kamberg, deputy superintendent. “The process will be similar to the one we embraced with the introduction of the California State Standards eight years ago.”
The stakeholders for the transition includes everyone from board members, administrators, teachers and paraprofessionals to students, parents and community members, she said.
“We want to help teachers understand how to call for mastery of content through a variety of measures, including performance tasks requiring students to demonstrate mastery through application of their new learning,” Kamberg said.
Multiple choice type of questions — allowing students the possibility of passing the content by guessing at the answer — is no longer the way to go, Kamberg said.
“We are asking teachers to find ways to provide opportunities for students to apply new knowledge through critical thinking processes in problem solving. This shift in classroom instruction moves us away from the ‘test-taking’ mentality of a drill and kill practice to a more student-focused classroom,” Kamberg said.
The new testing — the Smarter Balanced Assessment — will be administered to students in April of 2015.
“We must adequately prepare staff, students and parents for the new assessment,” Kamberg said. “Mrs. Styles is working closely with kindergarten and first grade classes across the district to fully implement CCS in English language arts and math in those two grade levels. The current first graders will take the test for the first time in fourth grade. It is our responsibility to prepare them for success.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.