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Kentucky Leads New Common Core Standards Initiative

Kentucky has been selected to model a new initiative that helps implement the common core state education standards.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the standards, which look to unify what students learn (map shows current states that have adopted the standards). Now, the Kentucky Department of Education will help develop a framework for providing professional development at the state level, said Joellen Killion, senior advisor with the organization Learning Forward. It’s a non-profit that plans to work with seven states over the next two years.

Reaching out to all teachers is difficult, but information can spread though state education departments, she said.

“What we can do is to work with the department of education in how it thinks about its role and then work closely in several school systems in Kentucky simultaneously to have them serve as models,” Killion said.

Essentially, the idea is to educate leaders and let it trickle down, she said.

“The state’s policies, practices, and investments in professional learning often determine the quality and access to professional learning that teachers have across the state,” said Killion.

The Kentucky Department of Education will help create the framework and strategies available to all participating education departments, but each state will have different priorities; and what works for one may not work for another, which is why the six other states will participate in conversations throughout the process, she said.

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Local PTA Group Begins Training on Common Core Standards

A local PTA group is training to educate parents in Jefferson County about the Common Core State Standards.

President of the 15th District PTA Cheri Dimar said she didn’t have time to relax on the beach in Florida this past weekend because her group of six were busy training with the National PTA on how to educate parents in Jefferson County on the newly adopted common core standards. The National PTA will help monitor progress but it’ll be up to the individual recipients to see that their goals are met.

“They just help us set goals and be sure we have the materials and things we need to actually get the information out to the parents in the community,” said Dimar.

The Common Core State Standards unify what students learn in math and English and have been adopted by 46 U.S. states and territories. The 15th District PTA is one of six National PTA grant recipients. The training helps identify the role parents should play, as many states begin to implement the new standards this year.

“The parents and then the teachers too can do activities that will involve things like measuring when you’re baking or if you’re at the store using fractions when you’re buying something–just real life experiences that help the students actually be able to apply them and hopefully carry over and pass the test next week,” said Dimar.

The 15th District PTA is part of the third wave of nation-wide recipients to be involved in the program with National PTA and Dimar said past recipients were on hand in Florida to talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t.

The 15th District PTA will be training several parents and community members beginning this week, she said. A regional specialist will continue to visit Jefferson County each month through October 2012 and the group will also meet monthly to discuss how to meet its goals.

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Kentucky Supports JCPS in Common Core Standards

Kentucky is one of three states receiving a grant to help support implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Jefferson County Public Schools will participate in the project, which looks to create resources and set models for the state.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the standards, which are meant to unify what students are expected to learn in math and English. The standards have since been adopted by 46 states and U.S. territories. JCPS is now one of the 12 districts that Kentucky has asked to be part of the three-year, $8.8 million project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.The  grant will support districts in measuring and developing the standards this year.

A recent survey from the Center for Educational Policy shows that many school districts have struggled with finding state-support in implementing the standards, said Nancy Kober, the report’s co-author. Many states have a plan, but lack resources, she said.

“When it gets down to things like providing guidance, the districts in our study cited that what they felt as inadequate or unclear state guidance is a major challenge in implementing the Common Core State Standards,” Kober said.

The grant should help. Over three years JCPS will work with the other districts to create ways to assess the standards and develop models that can be used in other areas of the state.

Kober said the survey was conducted earlier this year and many districts have since made attempts to better support the standards.

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens has included management of the standards’ implementation in her 90-Day Plan. And the board is scheduled to hear its role at a meeting next Monday.

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Local PTA Receives Grant to Educate Parents on New Standards

Jefferson County’s 15th District PTA is one of six national recipients of a grant to educate parents and community members about the Common Core State Standards, which go into effect this year.

All but six states have adopted the new standards, which aim to unify what students are expected to learn regardless of where they live.

“If they are teaching about rhyming in kindergarten in Kentucky, they are teaching about rhyming in kindergarten in another state,” said Myrdin Thompson who is a 15th District PTA parent.

Thompson will lead the Jefferson County project funded by a grant of up to $12,000 from the National PTA. The amount will be determined in September when they train, said Thompson.

Now, 15th District PTA members will become the educators for parents and community members in Jefferson County.

“We’re hoping that through these workshops and through connecting through their school environment and creating a stronger relationship they will feel more confident to ask key questions for those parent teacher conferences,” Thompson said.

The group has already started workshops in the county and Lowe, St. Mathews and Middletown elementary schools have scheduled workshops in September, she said.

“So our goal is to reach as many of the parents of the 100,000 students in this community as we can so that they can better partner with the school itself,” she said.

More information will be presented to parents and community members at the annual Back to School Back to PTA event on Aug. 23.