The words "Common Core Standards" have been on the tongues of education experts for the last year, and no wonder — almost every state has now committed to implementing the CCS and putting it into practice as early as next year. But one group that has been mostly left out of the discussion: parents. Although their children are going to be directly impacted by the CCS, many do not have any idea what those changes really mean.
Now schools around Georgia are taking aggressive steps to close that knowledge gap by offering training to both parents and students to help them understand what CCS is really all about. One event was held at Norton Park Elementary School in Smyrna last week, and over 40 people showed up for their Common Core crash course.
Jennifer Gates, Norton Park's academic coach, said the event was "amazing."
"We weren't sure what to expect because the weather wasn't good and because our parents are so busy raising their children and working and trying to fit everything in, including the activities," she said. "We had hoped for a great crowd, and it exceeded our expectations on every level."
The Smyrna school serves about 760 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The event was about more than just explaining the details of the new standards. For one hour, parents got to be their kids, attempting activities and learning games that their children will be taking part in during their school day. The parents were helped along with teacher volunteers and the school even brought in a number of translators to help parents who were not English-fluent.
Although the CCS adoption is imminent in Georgia and elsewhere, these kinds of events haven't been very widespread. It was certainly the first such session held at the school. Prior to that, there hadn't been any way for a parent to get a real feel for what their children's school days were like.
"I wanted teachers to be able to instruct parents as if they were the students in the classroom, in what the math is and how to do it," Gates said.
She anticipates hosting additional sessions over the next several months.
"I'm just hopeful that it's useful and that people are able to translate what happens in the classroom and the lessons. It's valuable to a child's future," she said.
Angela Wright, one of the parents who attended, found the event very helpful. Wright has a first and third grader at the school and said that the activities were informative. She said that the session reassured her that the CCS adoption would prove to be a good thing for her children and for other Georgia students.