The Tennessee Department of Education is putting the work of the Common Core transition into the hands of those who know best — the state’s top teachers. As Tennessee gears up to implement the Common Core State Standards in grades three through eight math next school year, more than 200 teachers from across the state will spend their summer as Core Coaches, helping colleagues in their districts navigate the transition to the rigorous standards.
“This is an exciting moment for Tennessee as we take the important concepts of the Common Core State Standards directly to classroom teachers where they will have the biggest impact for children,” said Emily Barton, assistant commissioner for curriculum and instruction for the Tennessee Department of Education.
More than 400 teachers applied to be Core Coaches, and the 205 chosen went through a rigorous application process. Kicking off the transition process to new standards and assessments, they will now spend the spring training to lead sessions this summer for more than 11,000 teachers across the state. The Core Coaches were selected by the previously announced Common Core Leadership Council, a group of 13 educators from across Tennessee who advise and lead the state’s transition to the Common Core across all grades.
John Prince, a member of the Leadership Council from Trenton Special School District, opened a recent training of Core Coaches with the charge that Tennessee educators embrace the Common Core as an opportunity to empower students and support their development as thinkers.
“I hope we will see that changing our view of mathematics and the way it is discussed in classrooms is not just another transition or another program but a chance to really do something right for our children,” he said.
Leadership Council member Vicki Kirk said she looked forward to working with the Core Coaches on the standards that she believes will transform teaching across the nation.
“Part of it is learning the standards, but part of it is learning a new way to teach,” she said. “I am inspired by the Common Core because it is based on the philosophy that all students can learn. And they will.”
The Common Core State Standards are a set of standards for math and English-Language Arts that were developed by state leaders to ensure that every student graduates high school prepared for college or the workforce. The standards are designed to set clear expectations of what students should know in each grade and subject. States voluntarily chose whether to adopt the standards, and to date, 46 states, including the District of Columbia, have done so. The initiative is led by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve.
Tennessee plans to implement the Common Core English-Language Arts standards in 2013-14, and students will take new assessments reflecting the Common Core standards in both math and English in 2014-15. Core coaches for English-Language Arts, high school math, early grades and specialized disciplines will be selected this fall.
For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at 615 532-7817 or Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov.