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Districts preparing for new standards

Posted: September 17, 2012 - 7:03pm

Area districts are preparing to fully implement the Common Core State Standards by the 2014-15 school year.

Common Core State Standards is an initiative of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The goals of the standards include making the curriculum consistent in both timing and rigor from state to state and to prepare students for college and work.

So far, about 45 states have signed up for the initiative, including South Carolina.

“This is a very positive step for education,” said King Laurence, associate superintendent for Aiken County Public Schools. “People all across the country are talking about what’s in the best interest for our students.”

Aiken County schools have fully implemented the Common Core State Standards in pre-kindergarten through seventh grade.

In the Edgefield County School District, the standards have been fully implemented in kindergarten through second grade, said assistant superintendent Donna Strom.

Both districts are working to fully implement the standards in all grades by the 2014-15 school year, when the state will begin using only the Common Core State Standards.

To help with the transition, training has been a key component in the districts.

In Aiken County, curriculum specialists are training principals and instructional coaches at the school level who are providing regular guidance and support as teachers transition to the new standards. Early release days are being used to provide training for teachers, Laurence said.

Edgefield County schools are also training key curriculum leaders in the schools, who in turn train the teachers. There have been parent meetings within the schools and the district is working on a committee that will include parents in relation to the transition and implementation, Strom said.

This school year, South Carolina students will still be tested on the state standards, but that won’t be a problem, Laurence said, noting the Common Core standards and the current state standards are similar.

For more information about the Common Core State Standards initiative, go to www.corestandards.org. For more information about South Carolina’s implementation plan, go to www.ed.sc.gov.

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