Aug 13, 2014 11:42 AM
The state Department of Education today announced a package of increased supports for statewide educators as they head back to the classroom for the 2014-2015 school year, the fifth year of the state's transition to higher expectations in reading, writing, and mathematics.
New resources to assist teachers in making the transition include hundreds of online training courses for teachers across the state, more than 1,000 new sample test questions, a 100 percent increase in state-led reviews of textbooks, and an expansion of the successful Teacher Leaders program.
In 2013-2014, the Department launched reviews of curriculum materials submitted by publishers across the country and provided detailed curriculum guidebooks in English and math for grades kindergarten through 12. The state also doubled its Teacher Leader cadre to 4,000, at least two per school statewide. Today's announcement of the 2014-2015 package expands those supports.
"As we enter the fifth year of our state's transition to higher expectations, it is essential that we continue to provide teachers with every resource we can, so that they can help their students reach new heights," said State Superintendent John White.
The 2014-2015 teacher support package includes:
Online training and collaborations for teachers: Beginning the week of August 18, the Department will host bi-monthly, online trainings reaching ELA and math teachers across the state during the school year. Additionally, Teacher Leaders will host in-person regional collaboration opportunities for nearly 5,000 teachers in October, December, January, and March.
Creation of sample test questions: In September, the Department will release an updated, online testing tool including more than 1,000 sample test questions in English and math for grades 3-8 to help teachers and students prepare throughout the school year for more rigorous assessments. This system will also make test questions available for review to parents.
Expanding instructional reviews: The Department will double the volume of its nationally celebrated review process for textbooks and other instructional materials.
Expanding Teacher Leaders: The Department is accepting applications for a group of 90 Teacher Leader Advisors, who will guide professional development efforts statewide. These Advisors will work with teachers across the state to ensure tools and resources are being used effectively, ensuring students have access to the high-quality education they deserve.
This support package expands on resources previously provided to educators such as the English and math guidebooks for grades K-12. Below is summary of supports and resources utilized during the first four years this transition period: