Tucker Parent Council Met to Discuss New Curriculum
Dr. Morcease Beasley presented the new Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.
The Tucker Parent Council (TPC) had its first meeting of the school year at Livsey Elementary School on Monday night. The TPC, which is made up of parents and educators from the seven schools in the Tucker High School cluster (Tucker High, Tucker Middle, and Brockett, Idlewood, Livsey, Midvale, and Smoke Rise Charter Elementary Schools), came together for a presentation by Dr. Morcease Beasley, Interim Deputy Superintendent for DeKalb County School System (DCSS), about the district's upcoming implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the 2012-2013 school year.
CCSS is a standardized curriculum that is being implemented throughout the United States; it was adopted by the GA state legislature in 2010.
While attendance was light (around 40 people), principals from all seven schools were present, as well as DCSS board member Paul Womack, Region 4 Assistant Superintendent Horace Dunson, and involved parents and PTA members.
Dr. Beasley’s program focused on the changes to the curriculum that the adoption of the new standards will require, how the implementation will take place (it looks to be a three-year process beginning in the fall of next year), and what it will mean for educators and students.
The goals of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) are as follows: students will benefit from rigorous knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and careers. There will be consistency with curriculum across all schools and states, making transfers easier, among other things (currently all but two states, Alaska and Texas, have adopted this plan). And, lastly, students will acquire relevant content and application of knowledge through high-order thinking skills.
Educators are now being trained on the new curriculum, with classroom implementation slated for fall of 2012. National assessment (ie, standardized testing) is set to begin in the 2014-2015 school year. Until then, the current standardized tests will continue to be used (CRCT and ITBS). Between now and the end of the school year, Dr. Beasley indicated that parents would have many opportunities to participate in input workshops, surveys, and programs concerning the new curriculum, most likely in the spring.
Overall, the principals and educators in attendance seemed to be in favor of the new program. Dr. Melanie Castelle of Livsey Elementary spoke on behalf of the “rigor, creativity, higher-level thinking, and reasoning” that the program would require of the students, and said that she was “excited to see what the children will produce.”
Mrs. Susan Wilson of Midvale Elementary conferred, and when asked about how students who struggled would be handled, she assured that with the rigor would come support for students that need it. “If we believe in those children, they’ll get there,” she said.
When asked about teacher accountability and how performance would play into the new standards, board member Womack took the floor briefly. Prefacing that he was “going to be brutally honest,” he said that “the focus with our new superintendent will be on teaching and learning. If a principal can’t be a principal, then they’ll be encouraged to find another career. We won’t be continuing the practice of promoting to the central office. Same for teachers.”
He went on to say that Dr. Atkinson (DCSS Superintendent) has removed everyone from her office except Mrs. Ramona Tyson (former Interim Superintendent of DCSS), who is acting as her assistant during the transition. He went on to say that “the name of the game is child education. Dr. Atkinson is the right person here. Her accent is on teaching and learning, and that will be the priority for DeKalb’s children.”
A live webcast with more information about the CCGPS will stream here today, Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 3-4 p.m. Hosted by State Superintendent John Barge and the state Department of Education staff, the program will go into further detail on the new Georgia Performance Standards. Following the live webcast, the video will be available on demand at the same link.
The Tucker Parent Council was organized in 2002 as a way of improving education in the greater Tucker area. Its purpose is to serve as advocates for community schools, engage the public to be individual change agents on behalf of public education, and to serve as a conduit between DCSS and Board Members on behalf of our schools.
The next TPC meeting will be held Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Brockett Elementary. The topic will be SPLOST IV with guest speaker Dan Drake, DCSS Director of Planning and Forecasting.
The Nov. 15 meeting, held at Livsey Elementary School, will be a meet and greet with DeKalb’s new superintendent, Dr. Cheryl Atkinson, with a reception following.