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Common Core in Washington County Public Schools

"Our goal overall is to prepare students for the real world, real world scenarios for college and career readiness," said one of the Lead Teachers at Lincolnshire Elementary, Danielle Dwinnells.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The Common Core Standards have been working their way into Maryland Public Schools for almost three years now. The state expects full implementation this school year.

Common core standards are state-led initiatives that establish a single set of educational standards for students grades k-12.

Maryland, one of the first states to adopt these standards in the country, has fully implemented Language Arts and Math into their curriculum. Students at Lincolnshire Elementary School in Hagerstown are already reaping the benefits.

"Our goal overall is to prepare students for the real world, real world scenarios for college and career readiness," said one of the Lead Teachers at Lincolnshire Elementary, Danielle Dwinnells.

This goal is actually leaving teachers with more work, but for good reason.

"Planning as a teacher is probably one of the most difficult things the teachers have to do,” said Dwinnells’ partner, Rachel Medley, other Lead Teacher at Lincolnshire Elementary.

“But with this new common core we're allowed the opportunity to kind of look at instruction in a big picture approach, so teachers are able to look at where they want their kids to go by the end of the year," said Medley.

And they're able to track their student's progress through the MAPS testing, or Measures of Academic Progress.

They're also going to be using a pilot program this year with certain grade levels called the PARK Assessment. That will ultimately replace the old Maryland School Assessment, or MSA.

"Being able to see kids move throughout these assessments, from the fall, the winter and the spring, being able to actually track a student's growth over the year. We are seeing that they are moving. So we anticipate great growth this year and in years to come," said Medley.

And Medley's partner had this to add about the maps testing.

"One thing about that testing that aligns to common core is that it's personalized to each student, so we're really focusing on personalized instruction," said Dwinnells.

The next generation of science and social studies initiatives is anticipated to become implemented into Maryland schools, like Lincolnshire, within the next year, although no specific date has been set.

For now, students are learning about those two subjects through the lens of common core standards.

We also spoke with the principal of Lincolnshire Elementary, Beth Allshouse, who said they've been sending a team the past three summers for professional development to educator effectiveness academy.

This EEA has been keeping educators in the loop with all of the changes from implementing Common Core, including a new report card rubric.

Allshouse says the Common Core Standards are definitely helping head the students in the right direction.
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