The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 30, 2013

River Bend staff preparing for common core

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — To prepare for the soon to be mandated common core standards in Illinois and all across the country, River Bend School District administrators have begun an intensive training schedule for all teachers in the district.

At a River Bend School board meeting Monday, Fulton High School principle Chris Tennyson and River Bend Middle School Principal Kathleen Schipper presented their tentative, professional development plans for the year.

“The board was nice enough to give us some extra time to work on some of the things we needed to get done this year. We wanted to put a schedule in place to let everyone know the mission and goals for this year and the outcomes we’d like to see for every meeting,” Tennyson said.

Because of the extensive training that teachers will be required to undergo in preparation for common core standards, the schedule that had been laid out at the beginning of the year has already been adjusted.

River Bend board members showed concern with the development plan adjustments on Monday because of the extra time they have already allotted to the training programs, and are worried that without evidence of success, teachers will require more time away from classrooms.

“I like the fact that this is written out, kind of like a road map of what the goals are for each of the days,” board member Eric Fish said. “Then a follow up to this schedule is what are we using as a barometer to see if we’re achieving where we want to get out of each of the days, to know Oct. 16 was a success.”

Oct. 16 was one of two additional early dismissal days the school board approved specifically for common core training purposes. Fish showed his displeasure with the extra early dismissal days when the board approved them in September, but knew the training is essential to the districts step toward teaching the common core standards.

Now that Schipper and Tennyson have provided the board with the training session schedules, Fish requested that some type of survey be used to gauge the success of the programs and the confidence levels of the teachers.

“I would like to see (that) we’re 80 percent done or 60 percent done. Maybe it’s none of my business, but I don’t feel comfortable yet,” Fish said.

According to River Bend Superintendent Chuck Holliday, a series of anonymous surveys has been filed by the teachers who have participated in the training, giving the board an opportunity to see how they are handling the training.

Although the surveys do give the board a chance to see how the sessions are providing for the district, Schipper said the common core training is an ongoing challenge that is not easily documented.

“The work will probably never be done,” Schipper said. “Instead of going a mile wide and an inch deep, were going a mile deep.”