A reported 273 educators registered for the program. Those who successfully complete the training will be considered Learning Leaders. These teachers will then “re-deliver” the content to their peers at their respective schools.
Common Core training the two previous summers focused on educating as many teachers as possible in math and English language arts standards. Site leader Della Hass explained the shift allows the trainers to take a step away from teaching the language of Common Core. Instead, the teachers learn how a student’s education should progress from one standard to the next.
“The whole goal for all TennCore stuff is to impact student achievement and student learning,” Haas said. “Of course the goal is we want to be the fastest improving state in the race to the top.”
Teachers at the K-12 level were separated by grade level: Pre-K and kindergarten; first and second; third-through-fifth; sixth-through-eighth; and ninth-through-12th. Teachers within each group were then separated into subject content, either math or English language arts.
Cleveland Middle sixth-grade math teacher Kelly Owens said the trainers have real-life experience.
“What I like about these trainers is they teach what we teach. They know where you are coming from, so when they present the information to you, they are presenting it from your perspective,” she said. “[My coach] knows what it is like to get in front of sixth-graders every day.”
According to a department of education press release, nearly 500 Core Coaches have been utilized for the summer sessions. Additional training will once again be given directly to math and English teachers later in the summer. One of the department’s goals is to provide access to Common Core training to every teacher in the state.
Owens said training will also continue for the Learning Leaders throughout the year.
She said the idea of teaching her peers at Cleveland Middle is nerve-wracking. However, she said she feels confident in her ability and the information received through the three-day training.
“Everything is practical,” Owens said. “The things we are doing [Wednesday] are actual lessons that can be used in a sixth- through eighth-grade classroom. … It is something we can take back [to their respective schools]. It is not just something we talk about.”
Sessions have built in question-and-answer portions to assure teachers understand the training. Owens said her instructor sent an email to the head of Common Core math in the state of Tennessee whenever a question stumped her. The emails were reportedly answered promptly.
Haas said systems did not necessarily have to bring more than one teacher, but many chose to register multiple Learning Leaders.
“They were allowed to bring in a school team,” she said. “One school had three teachers in third-through-fifth math and another three in the English language arts training. That is a pretty good tag team.”
Owens said she is excited to be a part of the program as a representative for Cleveland Middle, and is pleased with the information presented in the training.