The Tennessee Department of Education is enlisting the help of more than 700 teachers – including two from Fayetteville-Lincoln County – to help their peers navigate the transition to the Common Core State Standards.
This year’s cohort will help lead five weeks of summer trainings on the Common Core math, English/language arts and literacy standards, reaching more than 30,000 teachers across the state. They follow in the footsteps of last year’s 200 coaches, who have spent this school year guiding their colleagues on the Common Core transition in math for grades 3-8.
Local core coaches this year are Frances Hamilton of the Fayetteville City School System and Sarah Beth Spray of the Lincoln County School System.
“We believe the transition to Common Core will be most effective if our own teachers lead the way,” said Emily Barton, assistant commissioner for curriculum and instruction at the department. “I am so inspired by this group of teachers – our state’s transition to Common Core is in good hands.”
The 704 coaches were chosen through a rigorous application process. They will now receive training throughout the spring to lead sessions this summer for more than 35,000 teachers across the state.
Clint Satterfield, director of Trousdale County Schools, opened the first Core Coach training session by describing the impact of education on his own family and praising higher educational standards as a means to support schools and students, address poverty and ultimately help improve Tennessee’s education ranking.
“I am an example of the dynamic change that can take place when educators take on the mission of educating all students to higher levels of learning,” said Satterfield. “I believe that is not only our job, duty and responsibility, but our heartfelt mission to make the world a better place through education.”
Millicent Smith, executive director of curriculum, instruction, and professional development for Knox County Schools, similarly praised the standards, saying that they will make a difference for children. Smith believes the Common Core empowers teachers to push students to meet higher expectations.
“Great teachers hold students accountable to their individual potentials,” said Smith. “I believe these changes will truly build the capacity of our teachers to challenge all students to explore their full potential from the time they first enter school.”
Implementation of the Common Core State Standards is an initiative led by states, including Tennessee, to ensure that every student graduates high school prepared for college or the workforce. The standards are designed to set clear expectations of what students should know in each grade and subject. States voluntarily chose whether to adopt the standards, and to date, 46 states, including the District of Columbia, have done so. The initiative is led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Tennessee schools began implementing Common Core State Standards last year, and students will take new assessments reflecting the Common Core standards in both math and English in 2014-2015. The 2013 summer training will build on the successful math training last summer for grades 3-8, which was also conducted by Core Coaches. Over 150 of this year’s Core Coaches are returning from last year’s cohort.