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Gainesville school board to talk career, college focus
New index would replace No Child Left Behind, AYP requirements
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Gainesville City Schools Board of Education meeting

When: 6 tonight
Where: Gainesville City Schools Board Office, 508 Oak St., Gainesville
Contact: 770-536-5275

Though the federal government has not officially approved it yet, a proposal to focus curriculum on career and college preparation is already affecting local school systems.

Gainesville City Schools Board of Education members asked Jamey Moore, director of curriculum and instruction, to find a way to integrate the requirements of the College and Career Ready Performance Index into how the school system is graded, which is called a balanced scorecard. The index would replace the No Child Left Behind and Adequate Yearly Progress requirements that focus more heavily on standardized testing.

The current grading system measures the city schools on students' test scores, teacher evaluations and perceptions of school governance, teacher retention and professional learning and financial health.

"If this is what the state's going to be looking for, we should get as close to their needs first," board member Maria Calkins said at the Oct. 3 work session.

Moore said the index is a more balanced approach than other ways of evaluating schools and districts.

"We are also wondering if there's anything on the balanced scorecard that can be phased out," Moore said at the work session. "A number of financial goals placed on there previously that might not be pertinent."

The balanced scorecard changes come on the heels of Georgia adopting new curriculum standards — the Common Core Standards in place of the existing Georgia Performance Standards.

"The Common Core Standards are going to be implemented in every school in Georgia regardless of the waiver," said Sarah Bell, director of academic programs and standards for Gainesville schools. "The new index will measure how well we teach Common Core."

Those standards have been adopted by more than 40 states, which are in the process of creating a common assessment for everyone.

Bell said Georgia is "well-poised" to implement the Common Core with only minor curriculum shifts. She said there will be greater emphasis on more rigorous texts for language arts classes as well more informational and persuasive texts to prepare children for the type of literacy they will need as adults.

She plans to tell board members about the steps being taken to prepare Gainesville school faculty for the transition.

"We are beginning our professional development with our teachers ... to make sure our teachers are ready for Common Core next year," Bell said. "We want them to show them the standards and be aware of the deep knowledge of what the standards are asking students to do."

 

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