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Irvington Schools Prepare For New Common Standards

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – The new Common Core State Standards will have a big impact on Irvington schools over the next several years, Irvington Interim Superintendent Robert Roelle said.

“It seems to me like this is the most significant educational reform initiative that we've experienced in our nation probably since Horace Mann created public schools,” Roelle said.

Consultants Marjorie Holderman and Lucretia Pannozzo spoke about the Common Core State Standards at a recent Irvington Board of Education meeting. They will be assisting Irvington with the transition to the standards, according to Roelle.

Implementing the Common Core State Standards is one of the goals of the Regents Reform Agenda in New York State. The Common Core State Standards are an educational framework developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers in conjunction with teachers, school administrators and experts.

The standards provide guidelines for how teachers instruct students and how learning is to be addressed, such as how students should master fractions or defining the reading level of a specific book. The standards do not set curriculum in school districts or limit advanced work that the school district can offer, such as advanced placement classes.

The main purpose behind the standards is to increase college and career readiness, Pannozzo said, because today's workplace has become increasingly demanding.

“The standards contribute to both college and work readiness,” Pannozzo said. “They are for all students, not just college-bound.”

The new standards will also make it easier for students who are moving from one state to another, she said. Previously, it was “almost like moving to different countries” because each state would adopt its own standards.

The standards were also developed in an effort to increase American students' global competition. The United States ranks 11th in literature and 24th in math globally, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The standards won't be fully implemented until the 2014-15 academic year, Holderman said. Until then, school districts will slowly add the new standards to the curriculum and train staff members. Holderman said state tests will continue to be based on 2005 standards until 2012. An interim assessment will be administered until the standards are fully implemented in 2014-15.

“We've got a long way to go,” Roelle said.

Roelle noted that the school district needs to have all of its administrators well-versed in the standards. Roelle also said “it's a given” that the district will need to plan staff development to make sure they're versed in the standards.

School Board President John Dawson agreed.

“There is a lot for us to think about going forward and not a lot of time to think about it,” Dawson said.

The Irvington School District has posted the Common Core State Standards presentation from its board of education meeting online. The presentation details specific standards in both math and English.

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