By Julie Montanaro
July 30, 2013
Leon County, FL - The first school bells will ring in Florida in just a few weeks and students will be greeted by new Common Core standards. Florida leaders are still debating which test will accompany those standards, and school leaders are trying to get ready despite the controversy at the capitol.
Students in Florida could see big changes in their classrooms this year. Common Core standards mean fewer multiple choice tests, more word problems, and a new focus on how students arrive at the right answers.
Christopher Small, Springwood Principal: "It's asking us to dig a little bit deeper into the concepts beyond the standards. So, not just being able to add, subtract and multiply, but also what's the rationale behind why we do certain steps.
Allen Burche: "The overarching idea is that it's an increase in rigor for all students and the transition for teachers will be how do I change my teaching?"
Principals from all Leon County Schools are getting schooled on Common Core as they get ready for the first bell to ring. They'll help to ensure students are ready for end of year tests that accompany the new standards, though right now, no one is sure which test that will be.
The Senate President and House Speaker wrote the state's Education Commissioner a letter this week encouraging him to abandon plans to use the so-called PARCC test. Leaders in Leon County say they will leave that debate to folks at the Capitol.
Stuart Greenberg, Director of School Accountability: "You can't teach to a test because you don't have a copy of the test. You have to teach rigorous and enjoyable and collaborative everyday."
Principals are in a summit all week. They will be briefed on everything from Florida's new cyber-bullying laws to new teacher evaluation components.