Districts 203 & 204 Take On Common Core Initiative

Across the country, new standards for education ensure that students can make the grade, but local taxpayers could be the ones paying for it.

Educators from both Naperville school districts are putting their teachings to the test as a new way of learning is being initiated.

Representatives from Naperville Community Unit School District 203 and Indian Prairie School District 204 recently met with the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation (NAHC) at City Hall to discuss the newest way of learning in the 21st century.

Dozens of parents, educators, and residents came to the meeting to learn more about the project known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a new set of academic goals adopted by all 50 states, and also meet global standards.

Both districts are in the process of developing and rolling out new instruction methods and techniques for math and English Language Arts while seeking to also change values at home.

“I would challenge you then in terms of being our partner, to raise our level of conversation with our school aged kids,” said District 203’s Superintendent, Dan Bridges. “Get them in the habit of being aware of their own thinking, and understanding of what it is that they know and what it is that they don’t know.”

Kathy Birkett serves as the Superintendent for District 204.

“Now we are going to be assessing in so many different ways that we are going to truly engage kids, all kids,” she said. “Not just the top notch kids, and not just the students that are going to receive the support, but those kids in the middle.”

The NAHC is the medium between homeowners, tenant associations, and the local government. Taxpayers will not be receiving the bill for Common Core changes, nor will school budgets suffer, but they are allowing room for new technology to be purchased as a part of the new ways of learning.

“They have the ability through the computer-generated assessments to test both critical thinking, process knowledge, and that’s in addition to content knowledge,” said Jen Hester, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, District 203.

Educators urged the importance of high school grads to be college and career ready.

“We know today that the students we are teaching, and what their jobs look like, we cannot even envision yet. But what we have to make sure that we do is to provide for them the ability to apply and to learn and to have the kind of skills that Dr. Hester has highlighted,” said Kathy Duncan, Chief Academic Officer for District 204. “That integration of knowledge. Not just the content. But how you apply different skill sets into the workplace.”

Common Core Initiatives have already begun. As a result, both districts now offer all day kindergarten.

The change in public education will be implemented in the next few years. To learn more about the Common Core Initiative, visit corestandards.com.

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