One of the many challenges teachers face is what to do with transient students, those children who move in during the school year.
What if they’re behind? What did they learn in another school?
Help could be on the way in the form of new teaching standards known as the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS), which will be incorporated in all school systems this school year throughout the state of Georgia.
Georgia had been using the Georgia Performance Standards for much of the last decade, which were not necessarily aligned to the standards of other states. As a result, transient students were sometimes off pace when moving to Georgia.
The new Common Core standards are designed to create uniformity among schools so that no matter where a student moves or where he or she comes from, the expectations are the same.
“I think most of our teachers are excited,” said Gordon County Schools Superintendent Bill McCown. “It will help with transient students because we are teaching the same concepts state to state and county to county.”
Georgia, one of 48 states to adopt Common Core, approved the standards in 2010 and began training teachers last year, according to information from the state department of education.
Some of the changes that will be noticeable in Common Core going forward generally involve changing the grade level in which certain concepts are taught.
For example, under Common Core, third-grade students will learn adverb function, which had previously been taught in higher grades.
Students will learn adding and subtracting fractions in fourth grade rather than fifth, and so on.
Though the Common Core is similar to the previous standards, there was still a high level of preparation involved in the transition process.
“We’ve had a lot of collaboration with teachers and the Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) during the transition,” said Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Michelle Taylor. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from our teachers.
“It is a challenge to prepare for roll out (of Common Core),” Taylor added. “You need additional time, but our teachers have risen to the occasion.”
McCown said the move to Common Core was “time intensive,” but that he fully expects the move to be successful.
“Our teachers were well prepared,” he said. “They have been in a standards based environment for so long that teaching from a new standard will be no transition. In many cases, there is an overlap between the old and new standards. We don’t anticipate any dips in performance.”
Gordon County Schools open on Aug. 9 while Calhoun City Schools are back in session on Aug. 16.
For more information on Common Core, visit www.georgiastandards.org.