School may be out for summer, but that doesnt mean teachers in Florida will be taking a break.
The Florida Department of Education isnt wasting any time making sure teachers are familiar with the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The DOE has scheduled seven seminars during the summer to make sure teachers are prepared to implement the CCSS in the 2014-2015 school year, when the learning initiative will become mandatory for schools all over the state.
The Common Core Standards Summer Institute began June 18 in Santa Rosa County, and will continue in seven two-day events until July 26.
Other events will be held in Pinellas, Palm Beach, and Duval Counties. More than 13,000 teachers and administrators have signed up for the events so far.
Teachers and administrators will use the Summer Institutes to familiarize themselves with the CCSS before they are fully implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. The DOE will be helping teachers learn how to prepare lessons to adhere to the CCSS for English language, mathematics, history, science and other technical subjects.
Both schools and districts can bring their own teams of up to eight people to the events. The DOE recommended the schools principal, assistant principal for curriculum or instruction, an English language arts/reading lead teacher or coach, a mathematics lead teacher or coach, a science lead teacher or STEM coach, a social studies lead teacher, career and technical education lead teacher, Exceptional Student Education lead teacher, and English Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) lead teacher all come to the institute to get hands-on training for the CCSS.
The DOE advised district teams to consist of the superintendent, the curriculum director, content area specialists, the professional development director, and the human resources director.
Participants will be learning the best practices for teaching with the new standards. By the end of the institutes, the DOE hopes teachers will be able to identify research-based instruction and evidence-based practices that are differentiated to ensure success for all students, including those with disabilities, gifted students, and English language learners.
Dr. Pink Hightower said teachers in his district are asking for more training. He is currently the staff development director for Gadsen County Schools.
They want to know what it looks like when its rolled out and exactly what they need to teach in order to have their students be able to perform on the Common Core exam, said Hightower. They just want to know what it is they need to do in order to be effective because of the new evaluation system that we have now.
Beginning in the fall, teachers salaries will be partly determined by how well their students perform on standardized tests.
Common Core is a state-led effort that has established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th-grade in English language arts and mathematics. The standards seek to ensure that students graduating high school have sufficient preparation for secondary education and beyond, and Common Core has been implemented in 45 states.
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at Allison@sunshinestatenews.com,