TPSD holds Common Core forum

Education stockBy Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Elementary school parents can help their children prepare for new learning standards, Tupelo school officials said during a meeting on Thursday at Church Street Elementary School.

The meeting was designed to provide information to pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade parents about the Common Core State Standards, new guidelines that Mississippi and 45 other states will begin following next year.

More than 115 parents attended on Thursday night. The district also will hold a meeting for its sixth- to 12th-grade parents on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Church Street.

“We are really hoping to build a bridge between educators and parents,” said Amy Ferguson, the district’s Response to Intervention coordinator. “Facing the new standards, we want to make sure they are prepared. We want to equip them with what their students need to be successful.”

Members of the district’s curriculum team advised parents to have their children read everything they see – from newspapers to billboards and magazines. They should have them practice math using physical objects, such as making measurements when parents are cooking. The new standards will emphasize more nonfiction texts and real-world math problems.

District officials showed how test questions likely will change with the new standards. For instance, a reading question that once asked students to describe the main idea of a passage may now require them to determine multiple main ideas and then match supporting details with each.

A math problem that shaded parts of a hexagon and asked students to identify the fraction, might ask them to show how many plots a farmer would need to seed to cover three quarters of his field and then to justify that answer.

“If kids master these skills, they will do very well,” said Walter Brownlee, who has grandchildren in first and third grade.

Sharon Kilgore, whose son is in first grade, said she thinks the standards will prepare the students for the future, but she also has concerns about the increased rigor.

“My concern is whether students will not like school early because it will be so rigorous,” she said. “What will they do with the ones who are having trouble? But overall, for the future, I think it is a good program.”

Ferguson said this was just an introduction and that the district will schedule more Common Core nights based on feedback it receives from parents.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com