If one thing is clear about the transition to Common Core Standards, it is that a lot of people in Turlock Unified School District are working hard to make the transition for Turlock’s public schools as smooth as possible.
Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees heard a presentation Tuesday night on the district’s Common Core implementation plan . It was announced the board will receive an update on the progress each month from district office staff.
Undoubtedly the largest challenge of the plan is to train 700 district teachers in the new curriculum. TUSD has already begun training school site teacher-leaders, who then share what they have learned with teachers at their specific sites and vice versa.
Director of Professional Development Kea Willett says the district will implement a three-pronged approach to the training, including volunteer workshops from local and regional education organizations. There will also be selective training for school site teacher-leaders and subject specific training for certain teachers in math and English Language Arts at various grade levels. Lastly, there will be Common Core Standards training for all teachers in the district. Teachers are not absolutely required to attend, however they are encouraged and compensated with $150 for an individual Saturday.
“This (training) will include information everyone needs. This is a multi-layered approach varying by grade level and school. It is meaningful, relevant and a timely professional development plan,” said Willet.
The first phase of district-wide training will begin Nov. 2, and continue every Saturday until Nov. 23. All teachers are asked to attend at least one session in November, which will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. First breakout sessions will include 50-minute periods on literacy across content areas, Common Core assessment (i.e., sample test computers), and Positive Behavior Intervention Support methods. Willet called it a “one-day overview to meet everyone’s needs.”
In the coming months the district will hold further professional development seminars. A large portion of development will focus on English Language Arts and math. Teachers will be introduced to Common Core assessment tools and methods, including the use of computer programs.