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Hopatcong Teachers Get Heads Up on Common Core Curriculum

District educators spent Monday with NJDOE officials and other experts, discussing the requirements and impact of the new state education standards.

Hopatcong School Superintendent Cynthia Randina (left) with Dr. Tracey Severns of the NJDOE. (Photo/Hopatcong School District)
Hopatcong School Superintendent Cynthia Randina (left) with Dr. Tracey Severns of the NJDOE. (Photo/Hopatcong School District)
Teachers of the Hopatcong School District spent the day Monday getting the lowdown on the new Common Core standards and all it entails.

Professionals from the New Jersey Department of Education and and New Jersey City University (NJCU) descended on the district to discuss Common Core, the details of the new upcoming state assessment test called PARCC, and educators’ goal setting to improve student achievement.

Dr. Tracey Severns, Chief Academic Officer for the NJDOE, reiterated the benefit of the Common Core curriculum where there are fewer standards, said Hopatcong School Superintendent Cynthia Randina, but more depth.

With Common Core, Randina said in a statement, "teachers are required to go more in depth promoting deeper understanding."

Since Common Core sets new standards, the state has devised a new way of measuring them, Severns told the teachers: the PARCC Assessment - that is, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers for which PARCC is an acronym.

Severns also discussed the new educator evaluation system, AchieveNJ, which requires all teachers to set goals which are "grounded" and measure student achievement in what was describe as "meaningful ways." Severns said that although the tasks this year can be overwhelming, she was "confident that educators will rise to the challenge.

"Once educators understand that they must review the data, set goals, and then plan on how to achieve those goals, all these new initiatives will come together and the result will be improved instruction and student growth."

Returning for his third visit to Hopatcong, Dr. Mark Cacciatore, Education Program Development Specialists in the Office of Literacy and Academic
Standards for the NJDOE, continued to connect the Common Core and PARCC
for the assembled teachers, Randina said.

"He provided an outlet for teachers to ask specific question pertaining to their subject area. He offered resources and clarification to include the Literacy Standards of the Common Core in History, Science, and Technical subjects," she said in a statement.

Dr. Allan DeFina, Dean of the Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolf College of Education, New Jersey City University shared his educational experiences and expertise in the techniques, available resources, and motivation for improving instruction in preparation for the PARCC Assessment, which is scheduled to begin in September, 2015.

Tracey Hensz, principal of Hudson Maxim School, presented a Common Core workshop to the Pre-K/Grade 1 staff, focusing on the interconnections between
the standards and the Stronge research-based teacher observation tool implemented this year, the superintendent said.

Observer January 24, 2014 at 06:53 PM
My "sources" tell me that we're going to get screwed (again) by the implementation of these new standards. Even the State couldn't adequately explain either the standards or the evaluation process at Monday's in-service. The elementary grades will be the most impacted at first. NO accommodations for special needs students, except the most severely handicapped. Get ready for educational Armageddon!
Emily January 25, 2014 at 08:19 AM
That article said a whole bunch of nothing. Still no cure for what ails us. I understand Byram Elementry is now a choice school.
Roll Back Our Tax January 27, 2014 at 02:31 PM
What are you getting for the money?... http://www.state.nj.us/education/pr/2013/37/372240030.pdf .. "This school's academic performance lags in comparison to schools across the state. Additionally, its academic performance significantly lags in comparison to its peers. This school's college and career readiness lags in comparison to schools across the state. Additionally, its college and career readiness significantly lags in comparison to its peers. This school's graduation and post-secondary performance lags in comparison to schools across the state. Additionally, its graduation and post-secondary readiness significantly lags in comparison to its peers". See a lot of lagging and little college preparedness.
Michele Guttenberger January 29, 2014 at 01:21 AM
Why don't we have a academic testing standard to evaluate people who perform academic testing standards. If the evaluation renders poor results then let's eliminate this group altogether. With the academic testing standard suits out of the picture, we can make up any rating number we like and report this number every year. Then we can pat ourselves on the back for achieving these high ratings year after year. This method will raise the perception of academic standards for Hopatcong at 1/10th of the cost and accomplish the same job in academic effectiveness. :)

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