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Common Core fitting in nicely at S-GI

SPRINGVILLE—With another school year just around the corner, teachers, students and administrators are getting ready to put down their bathing suits and pick up their backpacks and briefcases. And stepping back into that role of educator, teachers will be shifting their focus further to the Common Core standards administered by New York state in the recent years.

At Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District, Common Core is going to be fully implemented for another year.

S-GI Superintendent Paul Connelly explained that the district has been following the Common Core standards since their inception, but not all the kinks have been worked out yet.

“We’re still wading through the modules,” he said. “There are some elements of the modules that don’t make perfect sense, yet.”

According to the Common Core website, corestandards.org, New York state adopted the new standards on July 19, 2010, fully implementing them across the state in the 2013-14 school year. New York joined 43 other states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories in adopting the standards. Only Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Alaska, Indiana, Nebraska, Minnesota and Puerto Rico have yet to adopt Common Core.

“Our teachers and staff agree,” Connelly explained. “ An eighth grade student in Rhode Island should know the same thing as an eighth grader in New York.”

The S-GI district is working with 26 other districts in the Erie-2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES to better understand the standards of Common Core.

“We’re not acting in isolation, at all,” Connelly said. “We’re working so all our districts understand [the standards] better.”

The Common Core standards are based off research and evidence and are aligned with college and career expectations. “According to the best available evidence, the mastery of each standard is essential for success in college, career, and life in today’s global economy,” reads the Common Core website. In New York state, however, the standards were ill-received due to the manner in which they were rolled out.

Connelly agreed that they could have been better implemented, but is confident that by working with E2CC BOCES, the district can work through the obstacles and provide better learning for their students.

“The concern seems to be aligning the modules the state gave to the standards of Common Core,” he said.

As for the implementation of Common Core itself, Connelly said his district is welcoming it with open arms.

“My sense is that the instructional staff likes Common Core,” he said. “They think it makes sense. It makes sense to a lot of people.”

Springville Elementary principal Marcole Feuz said her school is shifting the focus from English language arts and math to science and history for this upcoming school year. The school is also working, this year, to ensure everyone from students to teachers to administrative staff is on the same page when it comes to the standards.

“We’re working through it, making sure students have the skill set they need,” she said. “Common Core has seen a lot of ‘a-ha’ moments, a lot of positive and enlightening moments.”

Last school year, the board of education heard from teachers who have been using Common Core in their classrooms and hopes to do the same again this year.

As a whole, Connelly feels the Common Core curriculum is being well received in the district, and they will continue to work with other districts to better understand the modules.

“A lot of people, and when I say people I mean teachers, really like it,” he said. “I hear more good stuff than I do bad stuff about [Common Core.]”

For more information on the Common Core standards, visit corestandards.org, or for more information on the New York standards, visit engageny.org
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