Beth Sumner, Trigg County Schools’ Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, and Trigg County School Superintendent Travis Hamby, commented on the bill itself and the school district’s preparation.
Hamby said he heard the phrase, “Teaching without learning isn’t teaching,” recently, and that it stuck with him. “It is a little bit of a mindset shift,” Hamby said.
Sumner said that local teachers and staff discuss issues like assessment literacy, the state’s academic standards and characteristics of effective teaching during their “growth days,” or professional development days.
Growth days were implemented last year to replace early release days, and Hamby and Sumner both said that teachers and staff work much better in the eight hours of a professional development day than they did in the hour and half they would get during early release Fridays.
Sumner talked about what she called the “global achievement gap” – the gap between what the best schools are teaching versus the skills students need for careers college and citizenship in today’s times.
Hamby said there are four “strands” to SB 1 – academic standards, assessment, leadership and effective teaching and learning. The purpose of the bill, Hamby said, is to develop more rigorous academic standards.
“Kentucky’s adopted common core standards, the first state in the nation to actually adopt them officially, which they did in February 2010,” Sumner said. “There will be a new assessment in the spring of 2012, and it’s a combination of criteria.”
There are three English/language arts and three math teachers attending Content Networks to learn about the standards and to work with other educators, to plan rigorous learning experiences, and to select “evidence-based” teaching strategies, Sumner said.
Portfolios will still be maintained, but they won’t be part of the accountability. Reading, math, science, social studies and writing will still be tested.
SB 1 requires collaboration between the Council for Post Secondary Education, the Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education to reduce college remediation rates by 50 percent by 2014 from the 2010 rate, and to increase college completion rates in students taking remedial classes by 3 percent every year from 2009 to 2014, said Sumner.
No action on the matter was taken at the meeting, but both Sumner and Hamby said the issues will be discussed again.