Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lesson Plans Going National; Teachers from across First Coast Dive into Common Core Standards

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lesson Plans Going National; Teachers from across First Coast Dive into Common Core Standards

Article excerpt

Byline: Nancy Winckler-Zuniga

Ilea Faircloth wanted a relaxed, energetic atmosphere, so for the moment she kicked off her shoes. It was summer after all.

But for 1,600 teachers gathered at Jacksonville's Atlantic Coast High School, it was more like the first day of school. They had come from 15 First Coast school districts to participate in the Common Core State Standards Summer Institutes, spending two days in classrooms getting ready for phase three of implementation in grades K-2 in the coming school year.

"We're preparing kids for a world we don't know yet," Faircloth said.

It was her job to make sure that the classroom full of educators she was working with understood how teaching expectations would change.

Common Core Standards are a nationally based set of expectations that are designed to make sure that students from one part of the country learn the same as students in other parts of the country. Florida adopted implementation of the standards in July 2010 and is working toward complete implementation in the 2014-2015 school year.

"It's like comparing apples to apples," said Trey Csar of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

He said the standards would allow a fourth-grader in Mississippi to learn the same things as a fourth-grader in Massachusetts, putting learning on a more even keel.

"Everybody needs to get their feet wet," said Stacy Metcalfe, a teacher at Charles E. Bennett Elementary School in Green Cove Springs. Metcalfe was part of a team that had been asked by her principal to attend the training. Teachers attend at their own expense although each educational team receives a lump sum from the state to go toward expenses.

"Implementing the standards requires more teacher collaboration, that's how it will be manageable," said Pam Stewart, state chancellor of the Division of Public Schools. She said that the new standards would require more personal involvement and planning on the part of teachers. …

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