Learn about common core state standards Tuesday

Published 12:08am Friday, July 26, 2013

NATCHEZ — Natchez-Adams parents left scratching their heads after hearing the words, “common core state standards,” will have a chance to learn more about the upcoming changes to their child’s education.

The Natchez-Adams School District will host an informational community meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Natchez Community Center on Franklin Street to help keep parents in the loop, Superintendent Frederick Hill said.

“One thing we’ve found is that even though common core has been around for four years, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about what it is and what it covers,” Hill said. “The little bit we do know about it, we want to share with parents.”

Mississippi adopted the common core state standards, which are a set of nationally adopted standards, in 2010 with the goal of having them fully implemented in kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and math by the 2013-2014 school year.

The new standards are expected to be more rigorous and provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn.

The consistent standards across the nation will eventually lead to appropriate academic benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.

Elementary school students, specifically those in kindergarten through second grade are already learning common-core material in Natchez schools.

Students, however, won’t be tested on common core material until the 2014-2015 school year.

“Here’s the disconnect we have in Mississippi: We’re teaching common core, but we’re going to be testing on the normal (Mississippi Curriculum Test 2) and (Subject Area Testing Program) tests,” Hill said. “There is no test out there the state will offer us that is common-core aligned.”

Hill said the Mississippi Department of Education, however, recently announced a change to how it will rank and score schools this year and the following year.

“They will freeze the scores we got in the 2012-2013 school year for the next year,” Hill said. “So if our score happens to go down, we won’t go down. You can only go up.”

Hill said the accountability decision was welcoming since students will be assessed with a test that doesn’t align to the curriculum being taught in the classroom.

“The biggest concern a lot of the high-performing school districts had was how are we going to explain the drop?” Hill said.

Filling parents in on all the updates and changes on what their children will be learning the upcoming school year is what the meetings are all about, Hill said.

“Whenever there is a concern about what a child is learning in the classroom, we definitely think parents should know about it,” he said.