LCSD ready to meet Common Core State Standards

August 21, 2011

While much of the debate nationwide has raged about the teaching of cursive handwriting and whether it is appropriate to have common federal standards, the Lyon School District is ready to begin meeting the requirements of the Common Core Stat Standards that are part of the federal Race to the To

p Program the State of Nevada adopted last fall.

Lyon County School District Director of Curriculum and Accountability Pete Chapin said all of the District’s instructional staff has received exposure to the Common Core standards and the District will begin to follow the state layout plan to meet those standards this fall.

Chapin said the goal of the Common Core Standards is to produce students who are more college and career ready than the previous Nevada State Standards.

“There are a lot fewer standards in the Common Core Standards in math and language arts, but they are more specific and more rigorous,” Chapin said. “It really focuses instruction so that students are learning what they need to learn to be more college and career ready.”

Much of the nationwide debate has centered on the embrace of requirements such of keyboarding, which many observers fear will reduce teaching of handwriting in schools.

Nevada is one of 47 states that have adopted the Common Core Standards. The standards are being rolled out for grades kindergarten through eighth grade in English language arts and incrementally with plans for kindergarten through second grade and third through eighth grades for the math standards.

Lyon County is following the state standards for the math rollout, but is rolling out the ELA standards in grades kindergarten through 12. He said in four years, every student in the District will be 100-percent exposed to the Common Core Standards.

“In certain grades, like fourth through eighth, the rigor has elevated almost two grade levels,” Chapin said. “The concern in our district is grades 4-6. That’s where a lot of educators feel the real problems may be.”

Chapin said the first step to meeting the standards was exposing all of the District’s teachers to the new standards, which it has done.
“Then we had to go back and redo our pacing guides to reflect the Common Core Standards,” he said. “The next thing to do is a curriculum assessment, especially in English language arts to make sure the curriculum we use, the books and materials, will be effective in teaching Common Core.”

Chapin said the first training for teachers in the Common Core Standards will be August 18-19.

Chapin served on the Nevada Common Core Standards steering committee and also worked on the K-2 ELA translations document and did an analysis of the Common Core in math for grades 3-8.

“Lyon County is actually pretty prepared to teach to the level of Common Core but we’ve got a lot more work to do in professional development and curriculum alignment,” he said. “It’s a process and it won’t just happen overnight.”

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