School’s out … or not? Common Core draws teachers to HVHS sessions
Although school’s out for summer, some Tri-Cities teachers found themselves back in the classroom this
week as Carter County played host to a Tennessee Department of Education training initiative.
The Common Core training took place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 15 sites across Tennessee; educators from Northeast Tennessee gathered at Happy Valley High School.
Tennessee’s Department of Education said this is the third summer the department has offered this “educator-led training designed to help Tennessee teachers grow student achievement.” The training, which is free, focuses on the state’s math and English Language Arts Common Core standards.
“As in previous years, the state has worked with Core Coaches, expert Tennessee teachers, to facilitate training for their peers,” said a press release from the Department of Education on the training. “Nearly 500 Core Coaches will facilitate training for teams of Learning Leaders -educators selected by their school and district. Upon completion of summer training, these Learning Leaders will then re-deliver the same content to teachers at their school or in their district.”
According to the Department of Education, the goal with using Core Coaches and Learning Leaders is to give access to the information taught in these sessions to every teacher in Tennessee by training teachers to return to their schools and share what they learned with others.
Shonna Weddle, who is the Title Teacher at Valley Forge Elementary School in Carter County, served as the “Site Lead” for the state training at Happy Valley High School. She said 295 teachers participated in the training held at the site.
“What they are learning today they are taking back to their schools to present to the teachers who did not get to attend,” Weddle said, adding the training offered by the state helps the teachers to become leaders in their schools when it comes to Common Core.
According to Weddle, the public has misconceptions about what “Common Core” is.
“Common Core state standards are not the curriculum,” she said. “When they leave high school we expect them to be able to do certain things or hope they are able to do certain things. It is just expectations for student outcomes, basically.”
Weddle said the “Common Core” refers to the goals the education system has for students and the curriculum is how educators get students to meet those goals. While the standards are set at the state level, Weddle said most of the curriculum decisions are made on the local level.
“Tennessee is leading in this initiative for the Common Core,” she said.
The training provided by the state covered the math and ELA subjects for grades from pre-K through 12th.
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