Common core night draws crowd

The Hannibal Central School District’s pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade Common Core Parent Night drew dozens of parents to the first in a series of informational meetings on the changes that are occurring through the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

The standards were adopted by New York state in 2011 and will be implemented across the state this year.

The effort seeks to establish a set of academic standards that are consistent from school to school, district to district and state to state. At this time, 45 states have adopted the standards, which set clear goals, and consistent, strong, clear benchmarks that define student readiness at each grade level.

The Common Core Parent Night program, spearheaded by Hannibal Central School District administrators, including Director of Curriculum and Instruction Tammy Farrell, Fairley Elementary School Principal Joseph Musa, Kenney Middle School Principal Dee Froio and Kenney Assistant Principal Chris Tynan, presented information about the standards and provided parents with handouts to communicate the changes that they will see in their child’s curriculum.

They also answered questions such as what the standards are, how they will be implemented, and what parents can do to help their child be successful during the school year.

Changes that parents will notice in the English Language Arts curriculum include increased focus on non-fiction with careful, close reading, discussing and writing about what the students read using evidence to prove their argument, and increased academic vocabulary.

Math shifts include learning fewer concepts, but in greater detail. Rather than know a little about a lot of things, students will instead focus more intently on fewer concepts and then build upon that knowledge.

They also will focus on speed and accuracy and use real world examples to apply knowledge to real life. Each step in the math curriculum will build on past concepts, and these building blocks will provide the foundation for more complex problems.

The standards will be infused into all subject areas. Students will be asked to read much more challenging work in all subject areas.

To allay fears that expectations are being set too high, Froio said, “It’s OK to struggle. You will learn far more when challenged.”

Superintendent Donna Fountain also shared with parents that since the district began implementing the curriculum in the classroom last year, student achievement has increased to exceed the state standards.

She told parents she believes with full implementation this year, student achievement will continue to increase. One of the key factors in students’ success is parental support, and Fountain was very pleased with the parent turnout for the informational night.

Plans are being made for the next Common Core Parent Night, but no date has been set yet.

Information will be sent home to parents when plans are finalized for the second meeting. Information also will be available on the district website at hannibalcsd.org and in local papers.

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