It’s that time of year — back to school! Turlock Unified School District begins classes Monday, Aug. 18, much to the delight of parents and most students.
The beginning of the school year for many students and their families marks the chance to start anew — new backpacks, new clothes, fresh haircuts and new chances to learn the wonders of academics and the world around them.
This year is particularly different from most years, as TUSD implements Common Core. Whether you agree or disagree with Common Core it is here, it is happening, and students in TUSD schools will be learning under its curriculum and expectations.
TUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Dana Trevethan, says parents can expect to see a change in the academic rigor and expectations of student learning, both in their classroom work and independent work.
Under Common Core one thing is abundantly clear and a paramount focus in TUSD schools: students will be engaged in collaborative learning with teachers, fellow classmates, support professionals and help for students who struggle will be made available.
But most importantly, parents will ultimately play the biggest role. Schools can provide students with every opportunity to learn and succeed, but everyone knows a child’s first and most influential teachers are parents or loved ones.
Trevethan says the learning environment in classrooms will focus on problem solving, application of lessons, and discovery.
“Parents are encouraged to assist their student’s learning by asking questions like ‘Why?’ and ‘How do you know?’ more often,” said Trevethan.
On TUSD campuses, parents can expect embedded intervention efforts and enrichment opportunities for their students.
Among the changes with Common Core, TUSD implemented a shortened day every Wednesday throughout the school year. The goal of this change is to give teachers and staff collaboration time to develop and encourage student success with the Common Core standards.
TUSD will provide a quarterly newsletter, Common Core for Parents, to highlight relevant Common Core information and helpful strategies for supporting parents interaction with students and the student’s learning at both home and school. The newsletter will be posted on the TUSD website.
This year teachers will be learning throughout the year as much as students and parents. Over the summer, teachers came together to complete curriculum maps for Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English and language arts, and also received professional development in social studies and science across all grades.
“TUSD teachers are fully prepared to embed best instructional practices in their daily teaching of Common Core because our district’s emphasis and focus on differentiated instruction, student engagement and collaborative learning,” said Trevethan.
The formula of success is nothing totally foreign to TUSD teachers, as many have already received ongoing feedback and collaboration with administrators through the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model , in which teacher coaches, administration, and district office personnel visit classrooms and provide teachers with tips on how to improve teaching style, student engagement and student learning.
To view the full schedule for TUSD schools, visit the TUSD website.