More than 13,000 Tennessee teachers began training Tuesday on the Common Core State Standards, a set of nationally recognized criteria that raise expectations for Tennessee students, starting with math in the 2012-13 school year.
Two hundred teachers, appointed earlier this year as Common Core coaches, will lead sessions at 41 sites across the state, helping their peers better understand new focus areas for grades 3-8 math by practicing problems, watching model lessons and reviewing student work.
“The transition to Common Core State Standards in math is the beginning of a new era in education,” said Leslie Taylor, a Common Core coach and fourth-grade math teacher at A.L. Lotts Elementary School in Knoxville. “I know that we can move Tennessee to the forefront of national performance rankings and that our students will reap the benefits.”
These sessions make up Tennessee’s largest teacher-training program. The training model is designed to be peer-led, with assistance from content experts at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning.
“Tennessee’s transition to the Common Core State Standards gives us opportunities to strengthen our competitiveness and ensure our students’ postsecondary success,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “These standards also will give teachers the chance to engage their students more deeply in fewer focus areas, encouraging greater critical thinking skills.”
The Common Core State Standards also enable teachers to share ideas for lessons across schools and states. Tennessee is one of 46 states that have adopted Common Core State Standards as a way to set clear expectations for what students should learn in school, and align their education with necessary knowledge for college and careers. Teachers will focus on much fewer standards, which require deeper engagement in fundamental concepts. In third-grade math, for example, the number of standards taught will decrease from 113 currently to 25 under the Common Core State Standards.
“The spirit with which educators are coming together to support this transition is inspiring,” said Emily Barton, the department’s assistant commissioner of curriculum and instruction. “The work that the Core Coaches have started in their own classrooms suggests that as we bring this to all classrooms across the state, we’ll see greater student engagement and problem-solving skills.”
Tennessee will apply the Common Core State Standards for math in 2012-13 and for English-Language Arts in 2013-14. Tennessee students will take new assessments reflecting the standards in both subjects in 2014-15.
To learn more about Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards implementation plan, visit the website.
For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at 615 532-7817 or Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov.