As Hannibal Central School District students become acclimated with the new Common Core curriculum, parents are learning about the new standards as well.
District administrators hosted the second Common Core Parent Information Night of the school year Nov. 18, with roughly two dozen parents in attendance.
“This is designed to help guide you through the process of the changes that are happening with the Common Core standards that New York state has implemented,” said Fairley Elementary Principal Jody Musa. “We are really trying to give a general synopsis of what the shifts are, why the shifts are in place … and some suggestions and some guidance to help you interact with your child to support the Common Core and actually understand what your children are going through and learning in the classrooms.”
For more than an hour, parents listened and asked questions as Kenney Middle School Principal Dee Froio summarized some of the shifts taking place under the new curriculum.
The Common Core places an emphasis on focus, coherence, fluency, application and deep understanding of the material, Froio explained.
“We see more complexity in what we’re asking the students to do,” she said, noting that math questions have transformed from a “numbers game” to a more thorough, sophisticated word problem with real-world applications. “There’s a lot of emphasis on academic vocabulary and looking at how we can make it into a real-world concept.”
In addition to requiring more complex evidenced-based answers and incorporating everyday applications, students are also learning in a more intensive way.
“Instead of learning a little bit about a lot, we’re going to learn a lot about a little bit, and these concepts are going to form the foundation (for future learning),”Froio said. “We’re going to continue to build on that foundation as students move from one grade to the next.”
As parents learned more about the curriculum shifts, the district’s kindergarten through eighth-grade mathematics coach, Lynnette DePoint, stressed the importance of parental encouragement to help their children persevere.
“It’s tough and it’s hard sometimes … but encouragement is crucial. Stay positive,” DePoint said. “We are practicing perseverance. It’s only November. There’s a lot of time for them to learn and grow. I’ve been so impressed with the work they’ve been doing so far.”
For those in attendance during the parent information night, the goals of the Common Core and the new curriculum became much clearer.
Parents reviewed the information in small groups and discussed the benefits of the forum, posed questions and talked about their individual experiences.
“I wish more people would experience the hour that we experienced,” said Chuck White, who has a fifth grader in the district. “They would learn so much more about what goes on in the classroom.”
District officials are planning on holding a similar event in January.
Additional information on the next meeting will be published on the district’s website and in area media outlets when a time and date have been set.