Su­per­in­ten­dent ex­cited about school year

The Covington News - - Education - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­

Ac­cord­ing to Su­per­in­ten­dent Gary Mathews, New­ton County Schools may have had its “best yet” first day as the school sys­tem kicked off the 2012-13 school year with 19,141 students.

“It may have been the best yet start-of-school year!” he said.

Mathews pre­sented the new Com­mon Core State Stan­dards, a new cur­ricu­lum de­vel­oped by the Na­tional Gover­nor’s Con­fer­ence and the Coun­cil of Chief State School Of­fi­cers.

Known in Ge­or­gia as the Com­mon Core Ge­or­gia Per­for­mance Stan­dards, it is a na­tion­wide cur­ricu­lum used in the sub­jects of math­e­mat­ics and lit­er­a­ture and is cur­rently be­ing used in 46 states.

The in­ten­tion of de­vel­op­ing this cur­ricu­lum is to cre­ate a more com­pet­i­tive ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem within the United States.

“It aims to pro­vide the U.S. with a more com­pet­i­tive ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem—in­ter­na­tion­ally—and one that will ren­der all students col­lege- and ca­reer-ready,” said Mathews.

Changes have been made in, and to in­clude, read­ing, writ­ing, speak­ing and lis­ten­ing, lan­guage, me­dia and tech­nol­ogy, kinder­garten math, K-5 math and high school math.

“Given all of the above ‘new­ness,’ I trust our sec­ondary fac­ulty agrees that adopt­ing the Col­lege Board’s Spring­Board cur­ricu­lum in read­ing/lan­guage

arts and math­e­mat­ics was a very good thing! It gives us struc­ture,” said Mathews.

The cur­ricu­lum is in align­ment with the Com­mon Core stan­dards, built-in vo­cab­u­lary and re­search-based in­struc­tional strate­gies, as well as the “right rigor” for col­lege and ca­reer readi­ness.

The su­per­in­ten­dent has also an­nounced that the New­ton County School sys­tem has im­ple­mented the Col­lege Board’s cur­ricu­lum known as “Spring­Board” for mid­dle and high school students.

This cur­ricu­lum is struc­tured just as the com­mon core is, fo­cus­ing on each of the same strate­gies and pro­vid­ing the “right” amount of rigor for New­ton County’s students.

“I al­ways learn some­thing new from him; some­thing worth re­ally think­ing about when it comes to teach­ing-for-learn­ing,” Mathews said.

Lastly, test scores for the 2011-12 school year have proven to be higher than the state av­er­age in five out of the eight End-of-Course Tests for high school.

The el­e­men­tary schools also showed im­prove­ment again dur­ing the 2011-2012 school year, with a 73 per­cent im­prove­ment clip for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

The el­e­men­tary schools have scored higher than the state av­er­age in four sec­tions of the CRCT, while meet­ing the av­er­age in four other sec­tions.

“Thanks to teach­ers and other lead­ers-for-learn­ing, we are mak­ing progress on these state as­sess­ments,” Mathews said.

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