Leon County Teachers Preparing for New Standards

MGN Online

By: Lanetra Bennett
July 15, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - Before Leon County students come back to the classrooms, teachers and administrators have to take classes of their own.

Educators are learning how to teach the new Florida Standards, which formerly known as Common Core Standards.

Administrators say Leon County is one of the few districts in the state to purchase tools that align with the new standards.

Stuart Greenberg, the Leon County Schools Divisional Director of Schools Accountability, says, "Without there being alignment, we may very well be teaching something very well, but, it may not be at the level or the type of item that students will be assessed. Not only teacher evaluation is also based on this, schools are graded as communities on this. So, it's very important that we have an aligned system."

Greenberg says under the new standards, students will have to support their answers with evidence, and work with a partner; students will have to think at an inferential and analysis level, and read more challenging text.

Writing will be integrated for 4th through 11th grades, whereas before, it was measured at 4th, 8th, and 10th grade levels.

Greenberg says, "The standards are fewer but they're much more complex. So, while we may be teaching less standards, we're teaching in a more of an application format, with students applying, showing, and revising in English, Language Arts, and Mathematics."

The F-CAT will be replaced next year with an assessment test that adds math in third through eighth grades, as well as new assessments in Algebra I.

The Leon County Schools Director of Testing, Research, and Evaluation, Gillian Gregory, says for 2014-2015, there will be English/Language Arts testing in 3rd through 11th grades. Math will be added in 3rd through 8th grades. She says they will continue to implement science assessments, and geometry assessments, and Biology, History, Civics assessments that have been implemented for the last year.

Gregory says, "As with anything new comes anxiety and change causes stress. So, I feel both our teachers and our students will feel stressed this year. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to prepare. We're going to be ready."

Training for teachers will be throughout the summer. Each teacher will have two days of professional development on the new instructional tools.

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