Tri-Village News

Grandview Heights City Schools

District on leading edge of new state standards

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The Grandview Heights City School District is well on its way to adopting the new state-mandated standards in mathematics, English language arts, science and social studies by the deadline of the 2014-15 school year.

In June 2010, the State Board of Education adopted the national Common Core standards in math and English language arts and new learning standards for science and social studies.

Grandview teachers began working the next school year to review the new standards and become familiar with the format and structure of each subject area, Director of Curriculum Katie Maxfield said.

"Professional development has been a big part of the process," she said. "Thanks to the support of the superintendent and school board for professional development, we've been able to move ahead really well and teachers have the understanding they need. Now it's a matter of tweaking."

The adjustment has been a particular challenge for teachers at Stevenson Elementary School, who address all four subjects in their classrooms, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.

For parents and students, one of the major changes the new standards will bring is in assessments, he said.

Ohio has joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and state schools will begin using its assessments for math and English language arts during the 2014-15 school year, O'Reilly said.

The partnership's assessments are more performance-based and require students "to explain their thinking and demonstrate that they understand the concept," Maxfield said. The tests are online assessments with a pencil-and-paper component.

The assessments for the new state learning standards for science and social studies "will have PARCC-like standards, so it's not just reading passages and answering questions," she said.

The underlying goal for the new standards and assessments is to help make sure students are prepared for work or college after they graduate from high school, O'Reilly said.

One of the most overlooked components of the English language arts Common Core standards is the focus on the complexity of the texts students read, he said.

"Studies are showing the complexity of the texts students have to read at the college level have not changed, but in K-12, they have declined," O'Reilly said. "So we have created a gap."

Common Core calls for a buildup of text complexity over the years, so that by graduation, students are reading at a college-text level, he said.

The new curriculum will be designed to help build four basic skills in students, O'Reilly said. Those skills are critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration.

"When you think about it, those are the skills you need in any workplace," he said.

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