School Officials Emphasize Local Control of Curriculum

Superintendent of Schools Nathan Greenberg, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Andy Corey and School Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks recently attended a South Central Superintendents meeting at Londonderry High School and heard Department of Education Commissioner Virginia Barry discuss Common Core standards.
The results of that meeting were reported to the School Board at its Tuesday, Oct. 8 meeting.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Education website, “The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that included math, reading, and curriculum specialists, in partnership with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The purpose was to establish a single set of clear educational expectations for English language arts/literacy and mathematics that states can share and voluntarily adopt. New Hampshire has embedded the standards from this initiative into our College and Career Ready Standards.” The State Board of Education adopted the new standards in July 2010.
State officials emphasized the standards are not a national or state curriculum nor are they federally mandated. They also do not tell teachers how to teach, but provide a roadmap for what students should know and be able to demonstrate. It remains up to each local school district to design curriculum.
“I think her main message was that she affirmed that school boards still retain local control over all aspects of the district,” Corey said. “There have been a number of different reports on that but all aspects of curriculum and what children read still exist and are controlled by the local school board.”
“As the board may recall, in 2012 we adopted many of those standards and had a very similar goal and set 2017 to accomplish that goal,” Corey added. Curriculum remains set by the district.
“The federal government is not telling you what books to read or content to cover, they are saying that there is a certain skill set that they would like to see children achieve, which is the college and career ready standards,” he explained. “The Commissioner commended Nate (Greenberg) and the district because of our dual credit program – we have 261 students enrolled in a dual credit course at the high school for the fall semester.”
Corey said students in that program not only get one credit from the high school but also receive three college credits if they successfully complete the course.
Barry said the Common Core testing costs about 25 cents more than the current $22.25 for the NECAPs (New England Common Assessment Program).
“That is a state incurred cost and Commissioner Barry said that Smarter Balanced will be a way of getting testing information much quicker,” Corey said.
Smarter Balanced is the name of the new tests, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a state-led consortium developing assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics.
Corey said that currently students are tested in the fall and the results are returned in late spring, when the school year is almost over.
“There has always been that question of how much of the information we get back impacts the students and their learning, so I think that will change with the new structure of when the testing is administered,” he said.
Greenberg said the presentation can be viewed at education.nh.gov.

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