Claremore Daily Progress

June 28, 2013

County schools prepare for another year of common core transitioning

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter


Come August, Rogers County teachers and administration will continue to implement plans for transitioning to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as part of the Oklahoma C3 standards for academics.
Common Core is a state-led effort to establish a set of clear educational standards for English language arts and mathematics. The goal is to ensure that all students get a rigorous, more in-depth education, said Claremore-Sequoyah Superintendent Terry Saul.
“It’s a great challenge for students and probably more so for teachers who are transitioning from the PASS objectives to common core,” he said. “It’s not a big difference, but (common core) does involve more reading and writing for teachers and students inside and outside of the classroom.” 
Since the adoption was made by Governor Brad Henry in 2010, the State Board of Education has assisted school districts in the implementation process, providing resource and professional development for teachers and administrators. 
Full implementation is set to take place at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year for Oklahoma public schools.
“Common standards will help ensure that students are receiving a high quality education that is consistent across states,” said Claremore Schools Instructional Technology Facilitator John Potter. “This is the first step toward ensuring that our children are getting the best possible education.”
He said the standards are benchmarked to international standards to guarantee that students are competitive in the emerging global marketplace. Created by Oklahoma educators and specialists, the C3 State Standards were written to help prepare students for College, Careers and Citizenship. C3 includes the Common Core State Standards. 
In 2012, revisons of current state standards for remaining subject areas (social studies, science, visual arts/music, physical education and world languages) began. The initiative will continue until the goals of Oklahoma C3 Standards are aligned across the state. Oklahoma educators and content specialists participated in the creation of C3, including a review and feedback process.
“We’ve been involved in the transitioning process for about three years now. We work with teachers on how to implement the standards into curriculum, and they are doing an excellent job helping students reach those standards,” said Catoosa Public Schools Superintendent Rick Kibbe. “(CPS) has a leadership committee that meets every month to look at the latest teaching trends and most up-to-date curriculum for students. Our admninistration and teachers are involved in anything that has to do with Common Core.” 
Kibbe said he supports the reading, writing and math aspects of Common Core; however, he does not support the current style of end-of-instruction testing. 
“We would like to see more ACT-style testing to better prepare students for the ACT. It’s nationally recognized and those are the scores colleges look at,” he said. “Parents and students better understand the scoring of the ACT as well.”
EOI exams were criticized recently after a state-mandated change required Oklahoma high school seniors to pass four of the seven tests in order to graduate. The mandate is part of the Achieving Classroom Excellence reform.
“I’m excited about the testing. It provides valuable data for comparing our scores with other states to see how we’re doing,” said Saul.
Saul said the process in which the tests are given to students could be better.
“It will take some time, but the state and us locally will eventually figure out the best process for online testing.”
CTB/McGraw-Hill Education online testing system crashed April 29 and 30, causing students to wait for hours, and many tests to be postponed. The company was hired after the State Department of Education had problems with a previous testing company regarding the same issue.