Eric Casale, the Springs School principal, gave a presentation on Monday night on the new common-core learning standards being adopted in 48 of the 50 states, which will hold schools “to the same bar of accountability — teaching for mastery rather than just covering topics.”
“There has been such an emphasis on reading and writing, we forgot about literacy, social studies, science, and more,” he said, referring to the education system as a whole.
The importance in developing a consistent assessment system would show first in students moving to new schools. “A student from Florida could go to Wyoming and would be held to the same standards,” Mr. Casale said. “There will be data systems to monitor growth, and principals and educators will be evaluated according to how students are performing.”
These standards will not go fully into effect until 2014, but are beginning to be phased in even now. Luckily for Springs, said Mr. Casale, “we’re ahead of this process. The change for us will not be so drastic.”
The principal acknowledged that he was “passionate about this” and looked forward to “ramping up expectations,” adding that new scoring systems will be “more rigorous. Right now students are graduating high schools after being told they were proficient since third grade, and then when they get to college, they are being told they’re remedial.”
The new common-core learning standards are actually a return to old school, so to speak, the tenets of “reading to learn instead of learning to read,” said Mr. Casale, with a more philosophical approach to education.
Part of the equation includes using a “staircase of complexity” to measure benchmarks along a student’s path of learning.
In other news, the school received a petition with the required 55 names to add back a bus stop for students who live on certain portions of Sandra Road, Glade Road, and Woodbine Road. In a child safety zone study, the area had been judged less than a mile from the Springs School, and therefore ineligible for a bus stop. However, the school accepted the petition and has reinstated the stop.
Lisa Matz, the president of the school’s parent teacher association, reminded the crowd that the next P.T.A. meeting would be held on Tuesday at 7 p.m.