By Valerie Werkmeister
A concerned parent urged open communication between the MSD of North Posey School Board members, its parents and teachers during their meeting on Monday, May 13.
David Price, a parent of students who attend North Elementary(NE), addressed the board about his concerns regarding proposed Common Core Curriculum standards. He also asked a number of questions about a recent lockdown that occurred in April at North Elemetary.
The Common Core is a new set of national standards for K-12 content that will standardize education in English and math. It is on track to be adopted in all 50 states. Indiana House Bill 1427, that was passed in April, hit the pause button on its full implementation, until a thorough review and cost analysis is completed on the mandates associated with it.
Common Core proponents claim it imposes rigorous standards so that students will be better prepared in a global economy. Yet, many educators, legislators and parent groups are raising the red flag saying, this will not be the case.
In fact, opponents claim that current curriculum will be decreased or narrowed as schools and teachers will be forced to cut time devoted to teach science, social studies, art and music in order to concentrate their time teaching math and English, subjects that will also be narrowed. In essence, the standards are far lower than the current state standards in these subject areas.
The Indiana Department of Education claims the opposite, stating in documentation that the Common Core requirements are “high standards and are the best standards for Indiana’s students.” Further, they stated that they will be able to review and supplement the Common Core as necessary. According to the DOE, Common Core will outline what content students must learn, but teachers will still have the flexibility to teach that content.
However, opponents of the plan claim the Department of Education failed to mention that proponents of the Common Core built safeguards into the plan. Teachers are held accountable for their students’ test scores and it is reflected on their evaluations. Opponents say teachers must teach the new curriculum and abandon all their previous training. If a teacher disregards this new curriculum, and teaches the same subject matter as they always have, their jobs may be at stake.
Dr. Angela Wannamuehler gave an update on the current status of Common Core implementation in North Posey schools.
“The Department of Education (DOE) timeline is halted somewhat. It had expected to implement kindergarten through second next school year, totally on the Common Core while third grade through 12th grade would be what they are calling ‘bridge years’.”
She added that during bridge years, those grades would be required to teach all the Indiana state standards in addition to some key Common Core standards.
Since the Common Core curriculum implementation is on pause due to the passage of House Bill 1427, second grade will not be required to totally implement the Common Core this fall. They will be treated as a bridge year, the same as third grade through 12th grade.
A state committee will study the Common Core standards this summer and make a determination as to how the state will proceed regarding this curriculum.
Wannamuehler explained a district curriculum committee was created with the sole purpose of supporting the teachers through the transition of moving from current Indiana curriculum standards to Common Core.
She defined support in the form of professional development and resources. Representatives go to each school building and convey information to the teachers. They also relay information back to the central office as to what types of needs the teachers have in order to ensure a smooth transition.
Wannamuehler added the district plans to move forward with its professional development plans this summer in order to provide an overview to the Common Core to its teachers. Later this summer, they hope to have a legislative workshop to inform teachers of any and all updates.
Price expressed his frustration regarding the situation and the lack of opportunity to address the board.
“I would kinda wish that there was, instead of these board meetings there were some meetings where even some teachers could come in and give their opinions on stuff and just kinda have an open door school board meeting, if you will, to where you wouldn’t have to go through certain things. It’s one thing to get on the agenda, but if you’re at a meeting, like last time I was, and I wanted to kinda talk with you a little bit more about it, because I’m still learning about it myself. I just wanted to get feedback on it, but I was never given an opportunity to speak about some of my concerns,” Price said.
Price questioned whether the new textbook purchase, approved during the April school board meeting to be in line with Core Curriculum, would still happen or if they would rescind their approval.
“The textbooks will go ahead and be purchased. They’re supposed to be blueprints for the teachers so they know which Indiana standards are embedded throughout that book. And then whenever the standards are dropped off, then it’s already mapped to the Common Core,” Wannamuehler said.
Price further asked how the district would pay for the implementation of Common Core requirements, since it has been reported there will be significant costs to schools across the nation, as they face mandates to upgrade technology and purchase new textbooks in line with the new Common Core standards.
Wannamuhler responded, “As far as the ISTEP, that will just be another assessment online, which we’re already online, as far as that assessment. We have a similar plan as far as technology, it’s not really driven as much by the Common Core as much as academic needs within the curriculum as well. We are fortunate that we’re a member of the SIEC and the SIEC has been offering different trainings and opportunities in regards to the Common Core. As far as the textbooks, we would have had to adopt textbooks anyway, because we’re on that cycle.”
She went on to say, “The estimated cost as to what it is to the district to date, I really wouldn’t be, I mean until we get that textbook bill in, for sure to have a total cost of that. And then like I said, it’s embedded as far as the summer projects that we’re doing because that’s needed throughout he curriculum not just for the state assessment.”
Superintendent Dr. Todd Camp clarified Wannamuehler’s statement adding, “One of the things we’re doing this summer is switching the high school/jr. high over to fiber and then after that we’re going to do some hard wire drops back at the elementary which will improve our capability of handling devices and it will expand our band-width so that we will be able handle all of the devices that we’re adding at a rapid pace, and it will also allow us to start looking at the 1:1 initiative that is going throughout the state.”
Price questioned whether parents would have the opportunity to opt-out or protect private information such as disciplinary and health records, family income, religious beliefs, from being collected as part of the Core Curriculum mandates. Camp advised that if the state issues a mandate, they will comply with it.
After questions were answered regarding Common Core, Price had the opportunity to ask questions about NE recently being placed on “soft lockdown.” He questioned whether an emergency preparedness policy was in place and if teachers were aware of the policy.
“We have an emergency preparedness plan. It handles bomb threats, threats of violence, intruder in the building, tornado, all kinds of different things. It is developed by the administrators and it is in place,” Camp said.
He explained “soft lockdowns” have happened within the schools a number of times.
“Basically, all we’re doing there is having our custodians making sure the doors are locked. Making sure nobody’s outside. If students are in the hallway, they’re being escorted by an adult and there is an adult presence in the building,” Camp said.
Camp introduced North Posey Junior High principal Steve Kavanaugh, who is in charge of updating the emergency preparedness plan. He stated a plan is in place for different emergency events at different facilities. Those plans are not discussed publicly for safety concerns.
Price questioned why the principal would have issued a soft lockdown when teachers he spoke with were unaware of what to do in that situation. He urged the board to make sure teachers are aware of the plan for the various scenarios in which an emergency may occur.
“To me, there seems to be a lot of gray there and to me, in them situations, it’s black or white. You know, you’re there to protect our kids for that situation and if it’s a lockdown, and I understand if it’s somebody down the street and you got different terminology—it’s nobody in the building, so yeah if it’s a soft lockdown, just as long as all the teachers in that building, in that area, understand what to do in that situation,” Price said.
Camp thanked Price for his concern and advised him the topic would be on the emergency preparedness committee’s agenda for their next meeting.
By Valerie Werkmeister
- Debbie Koester Reed on Sixth River Days hits a home run
- dee on Hunter Education class announced
- jewels on A visit to the other New Harmony, Utah
- Alicer and Charles Christmas on J. Sue Wassmer
- Mark Lacey on Chief Deputy Buchanan retires from Posey Sheriff’s Department
- December 2013 (10)
- November 2013 (21)
- October 2013 (23)
- September 2013 (11)
- August 2013 (10)
- July 2013 (29)
- June 2013 (59)
- May 2013 (60)
- April 2013 (229)
- March 2013 (158)
- February 2013 (193)
- January 2013 (192)
- December 2012 (69)
- November 2012 (143)
- October 2012 (158)
- September 2012 (152)
- August 2012 (151)
- July 2012 (191)
- June 2012 (129)
- May 2012 (71)
Popular TopicsAlexandrian Public Library American Legion APL BBQ CDC Community Center Crafts Club Deaconess Hospital Evansville Gibson Southern Harmonie State Park Historic New Harmony Indiana INDOT Kiwanis Lady Vikings Lady Wildcats Main Street Maple Hill Cemetery Mater Dei Matthew Catholic Church Mount Vernon MSD MVHS New Harmony New York North Elementary North Posey Posey Posey County Posey County News Poseyville Purdue Extension Red Cross Reunion Southern Indiana Tell City United Methodist Church United Way University USI Viking Vikings Wadesville WMI