BESE visiting Calcasieu Parish schools as part of statewide tour - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

BESE talks Common Core with Calcasieu teachers

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

What if your child usually makes the honor roll but not since Common Core standards have been implemented? Do children really need letter grades to reflect their progress?

Those are a few of the issues that came up during dialogue between visiting members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and teachers at one local school.

Schools such as St. John Elementary were chosen for the BESE visit -- because they have experienced significant growth in student achievement or have earned what they call Top Gains status.

Teachers and the BESE members seemed to welcome the chance for dialogue about Common Core standards and assessments.

Teachers sat in a large circle of chairs as they visited with Board President Chas Roemer and BESE member for this area Holly Boffy.

Renee Lewis is a Special Ed teacher.

"The testing. I've heard, you know you hear all kinds of craziness like they're not going to be able to do some of the accommodations. These kids are already two years below where they should be.  we already know they're struggling," said Lewis.

Roemer and Boffy had encouraging words.

"You should have all the same accommodations that you currently have. And that should be more clearly outlined," said Roemer.
 
Still, change is hard for students and parents.

Principal Dr. Sabrah Kingham said at a recent conference for students and parents the outcry from parents had to do with being able to help kids with homework.

"Our children are having to relearn and our parents are having to relearn in order to assist them with the home school connection with homework," said Kingham.

Raedonna Person is the school counselor.

"Parents say, well my kid's used to making As and Bs. What is an A or a B? Really? Would you rather your kid have the skills they need to be successful? An A or B doesn't mean anything in the job world," said Person.

The board members say give it time.

"You gotta start the process knowing that you're going to face some challenges, so that you can get pass the challenges," said Roemer.

"The schools that have had the time to implement it, the teachers from the schools are the greatest advocates for the standards. So, that's something I hope happens. I hope that it's the parents and teachers in time who say we really want this for our kids. We've seen the growth.  We're excited about it," said Boffy.

From St. John, Roemer and Boffy went on to several other schools: Maplewood Middle, Sam Houston High, JFK Elementary.

The board members say the tour allows them to observe student achievements and better understand school challenges at the local level.

To read about Common Core, click here.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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