Principals Report To The Bradley County Board Of Education On Common Core

Friday, November 22, 2013 - by Tony Eubank

The Bradley County Board of Education continued its discourse over the merits of the Common Core curriculum during Thursday night’s meeting. First District board member Chris Turner in his Tennessee Legislative Network report stated that, while speaking with state representatives, he was told that the legislature is anxious to hear a collective opinion from the board on Common Core. 

Following Mr. Turner’s report, Board Chair Vicki Osment Beaty shared what she learned about local implementation of the Common Core. Ms. Beaty said, “I visited several schools and I asked them to give me positives and challenges.”

Ms. Beaty listed among positive impacts of the curriculum, as relayed to her by the teachers she spoke with, as higher comprehension skills, improved writing skills, cross curriculum literacy, and uniformity in the curriculum that allows for a better measurement of student progress. Some of the stated challenges mentioned by Ms. Beaty included questions about the age or grade appropriateness of the elementary curriculum, multiple standards within standards, and the schools system’s technological preparedness for the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing.  

Taylor Elementary school Principal and Common Core coach Elizabeth Kaylor said the changes that have come along with the adoption the new curriculum are difficult, but that real change always is. Ms. Kaylor said new standards are rigorous and much higher than anything the school system has done in the past. She also added that, while teachers have put forth a great deal of effort in learning how to work with the new standards, more time for professional development is needed so that the teachers can gain expertise in the Common Core.  “They must be equipped to design and deliver lessons that ensure that students will be well prepared to compete on a national and international level. But why would we want anything less our children?” said Ms. Kaylor.

Ms. Kaylor continued, “I have been so impressed with the level of commitment that teachers at Taylor have demonstrated to being scholars of Common Core. They have eagerly participated in trainings and spent numerous hours on their own time to embrace this change. As a result they are becoming reading and math specialists and their students are attaining new heights.”

Vice Chairman Nicholas Lillios raised concerns about the rigor of the testing and the school system’s tech readiness for the testing. He also questioned the staying power of the new curriculum, “There have been several standard changes over the years. Every couple of years something new has come out. Is this one different? Does it stick? Or is it one of a chain of many more to come?” 

Mr. Turner added that he has heard all the "propaganda" before and reiterated the need to quantify the real impact of the Common Core. 

Beyond the Core discussion, the board also approved policy changes concerning discrimination, harassment, bullying, and intimidation. 

The Board also approved the calendar for the 2014-15 school year.  

Tennessee School Boards Association District Director Kathy Dougherty was in attendance to present the Board with the Board of Distinction Award. In order to be considered as a Board of Distinction, a school board must meet several criteria falling under the categories of policy, planning, promotion, and board development.


Train Derails At Spring City; Cleanup Underway

 A train derailed Thursday night in Spring City, spilling large mounds of coal at the intersection of Highway 27 and Main Street. Officials said 49 coal cars went down. There were no reported injuries. The repair and cleanup were expected to take several days. (click for more)

Woman Arrested After Stealing From Signal Mountain Walmart, Biting Employee

Demetrus T. Jones, 54, was arrested on Thursday after police said she left the Signal Mountain Road Walmart with $250.78 worth of merchandise, biting a loss prevention employee to escape. The incident occurred on May 25. The victim told officers that when he attempted to stop Jones from leaving the store, she turned on him. He said they briefly struggled before she bit his ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Siedlecki, Sit Down!

This is a personal thing but one of my pet peeves is the little advertising stickers I sometimes find on the top of the front page of my newspaper. An editor at the newspaper has already determined a bit of news he or she feels I should read. And then the sticker covers it up so I have to peel it off before I can read “All the news that is fit to print.” As I groveled over my ... (click for more)

Lookouts Get Walk-Off Win Over Smokies Thursday, 4-3

With the score tied at three with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Lookouts outfielder Zack Granite singled home Edgar Corcino to give the team with 4-3 walk-off win over the Smokies.   Tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Corcino led off with his second hit of the game. He advanced to second base on a bunt. A Levi Michael single pushed Corcino to third ... (click for more)

TSSAA Sets Future Division I, Division II Classifications

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has released the minutes from Wednesday’s meeting in Hermitage pertaining to football classification period for the 2017-18 and run through 2020-2021 1.  Roll Call 2.  Division I and Division II Classification The Board of Control voted the following for the classification period that ... (click for more)