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Parent Involvement Meeting Highlights Shift in English Classrooms

FULTON, NY – For the past two years teachers in the Fulton City School District have been working to align the curriculum they teach to students with the Common Core standards. The Common Core represents the “goals” or “benchmarks” students should be able to meet in order to compete on a global level in the future.

“Each teacher has their standards pertaining to the area they teach, and those standards are their guide,” explained Carri Waloven, Literacy Director of Fulton Schools. “Teachers design the curriculum to meet those goals.”

The topic of this month’s Parent Advisory Board meeting, hosted by Betsy Conners, was “Writing to Meet the Common Core Standards” and focused on the changes being experienced in English classrooms.

Now reading, writing, and speaking in the English classroom will be evidence and text based.

The goal is to “teach kids to problem solve on their own,” said Waloven.

Bertha Foster has a granddaughter in elementary school and came to the meeting to learn more about Common Core and what it means for her granddaughter’s learning.

“Not all kids are the same,” said Foster.

Waloven explained how Common Core aims for the success of all students.

She showed a quick video, http://vimeo.com/51933492, that explained how learning is layered and scaffolded so students and teachers all have a better idea of how they are performing and what they are learning.

Foster was concerned about the level of difficulty of her granddaughter’s homework assignments as well.

“The purpose of homework is practice,” said Conners.

She told Foster parents and grandparents are encouraged to reach out to their children’s educators to get a better idea of their classroom goals and expectations.

Parent involvement is an important ingredient to a student’s success in school, she added.

“That’s how we make change,” said Conners.

Conners encouraged everyone to attend the April 29 Site Based Committee meeting.

It will be at the Fulton Junior High and begin with a picnic themed dinner at 5:15 p.m.

There will then be a presentation where community members can “learn about the budget and other things going on in education as well,” Conners noted.