Glenn County educators learn Common Core
Glenn County educators found out Monday they all have a great deal in common.
While their students had the day off from school, 420 teachers, administrators, school board and community members from Glenn County's school districts and charter schools attended a day-long conference to learn about Common Core and other advances and changes in education and technology.
"This is probably the first symposium of its kind in decades," said Glenn County Superintendent of Schools Tracey Quarne.
The event was held at Willows High School and coordinated by the Office of Education and local school districts.
Educators spent the day going to different "classes" on topics related to the new Common Core standards that are being implemented this year, and about the latest technology and resources.
Teachers were exposed to a variety of subjects, including how to use the latest technology to connect instruction to Common Core, how to run a successful computer lab, understanding the implications of Common Core, bullying and its effects on student achievement, the next generation of science standards, getting connected with free web resources, Google Apps for beginners and more.
Each had the opportunity to attend at least three separate sessions.
"I liked that we got to pick the ones we wanted to attend," said Capay student teacher Jennifer Bauman.
"I plan to teach the younger kids, so I chose 'Are your pre-K to second grade students developmentally ready for the Common Core.'"
Instructors included specialists in their field such as Nancy Brownell, a senior fellow with the California Department of Education; Kathy Felder, education learning coordinator for Kings County; Rae Fearing, ed tech coordinator for Del Norte County Office of Education and many local educators.
"This shows we are all common to the core," said Shirley Diaz, assistant superintendent of instruction at Glenn County Office of Education. "Our common goal is to be good teachers and help our students be successful."
The theme of "change" was pervasive throughout the day, with each presenter talking about changes in education in some context.
Common Core is the biggest change to education in 40 years, said Brownell, and it will be up to the school boards to set aside time to review the standards and their implication and to relay information to the public to stem their fear of change.
"Parents are fearful," Brownell said. "We have to address it."
But the more educators are learning about Common Core, the less nervous they are becoming about adopting the new standards.
Brownell said Common Core is simply a way of getting away from decades of teaching kids to "pick the right answers on a test," and begin teaching students what they need so they will be ready to go to work or college, which is by reinforcing critical thinking.
"We've been teaching an inch deep and a mile wide for years," she said. "I think that is why when kids go to college, there is so much remedial instruction." One of the biggest changes in education is the growing use of computer technology in the classroom.
Students will be using computers for almost all resource materials and testing by 2015.