Schools to hold Common Core workshop

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:19 PM

After hearing parents still have questions about Common Core, Lebanon Director of School Scott Benson decided to hold a workshop to define Common Core state standards, and have school coaches demonstrate examples of literacy and math tasks currently taught in classrooms.

“This summer, several parents asked me about Common Core,” said Beth Petty, Lebanon Family Resource Center coordinator. “I had to admit that I did not know enough about it to answer. So, I came back to school and asked many questions. I found out that earlier this year, information on Common Core had been sent home to parents, but families were still not sure what it meant for their students.”

Petty said parents want to know facts about Common Core.

“We want to dispel any myths about what it is not,” she said. “When our coaches show examples of what we are doing in the classroom, parents will better understand the academic changes that will ensure that students are educationally ready to tackle higher-level education and ultimately obtain quality professions.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Education’s core website,

Common Core state standards represent goals for what students should learn and set expectations for what students should know and be able to do.

Petty said there is a set of clear standards for math and English language arts. They were developed to ensure every student graduates high school prepared for college or the workforce.

The initiative was state-led, and content experts in math and English language arts represented Tennessee from the state department of education. The public provided input before the standards were finalized.

Comments from Tennessee teachers and parents were included in the revision process. Common Core does not dictate curriculum. Textbook adoption is still governed strictly by local school boards. Decisions on text selection are still up to teachers and central office supervisors and are based on knowledge of their students, student interest and judgment of appropriate content.

In some grade levels, the program began for math and English language arts in 2011. In spring and summer 2012, more than 13,000 teachers were trained, and this summer, more than 29,000 teachers were trained.

For more resources and information, visit tncore.org or

expectmoretn.org. Questions may also be sent to tncore.questions@tn.gov.

Petty said parents should see their children learning in different ways.

“The classroom is not the same as it was when we were students,” said Stan Blades, federal programs coordinator. “Our parents are always interested in what is going on at their school. We have great parent involvement, and Common Core will be no exception. Our parents will want to know the best way to help their children at home, and the best way to start is to attend a Common Core workshop.”

The first workshop will be Monday from 6-8:30 p.m. at Castle Heights Elementary School library. Lebanon schools’ Common Core coaches Patti Anderson, Traci Sparkman and Julie Whitefield will first define what Common Core is, how it will enhance learning, and then show what it looks like in the classroom. There will also be plenty of time reserved for questions and answers.

Pizza will be served, and free childcare will be provided.

“The materials used for teaching and learning are quickly changing as teachers and students are successfully utilizing the latest technological devices,” said Nancy Ash, associate director of schools and director of teaching and learning. “Because this workshop focuses on a new way of thinking and learning, our school system is giving away an electronic tablet to one lucky attendee.”

To register, contact Petty at 615-453-2693 or pettyb@k12tn.net.

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