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February 20, 2014
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Nevada County educators get ready for Common Core Standards


Nevada County will spend $10,000 on new technology equipment out of the $13,464 in state money it is getting to set up the new Common Core Standards this year, officials said Wednesday.

Nevada County Schools Superintendent Holly Hermansen told members of the Nevada County board of education that the new technology will be welcome assistance in the special education and alternative schools administered by the county education office.

“This is one-time money to help implement the Common Core Standards,” she said.

The balance of the money will be spent on professional development, Hermansen told the board at its meeting Wednesday. The board is expected to approve the Common Core implementation budget next month.

The discussion comes as all school districts in California — and in 45 other states — are switching to Common Core Standards this year.

Common Core Standards means that the basic math and language arts concepts taught at each grade level will be the same across counties in California and across states that are participating.

A second-grader in Nevada County will learn the same math principles as a second-grader in Sacramento County or in Massachusetts, for example. If a family moves to another county or state, the children will be able to pick up their schooling at the same level, Hermansen said.

“It’s really interesting because we’ve never had that before,” said board member Marianne Slade-Troutman. “Fantastic.”

As part of the switch to Common Core, teachers from the 10 Nevada County school districts have been reviewing math textbooks in order to choose which ones will be most effective for teaching the required concepts. Textbooks from a variety of publishers were on display over the last two weeks at the Houser Conference Room at the superintendent’s complex in Nevada City.

“We will do language arts (textbooks) next year,” Hermansen said. Under Common Core, each district will be able to choose a textbook out of a menu of selections pre-screened by education specialists.

In other Common Core developments, 3 million students across the state, including Nevada County, will take their first computer-based achievement tests under Common Core starting March 18. These will replace the old STAR multiple choice exams that students formerly were required to take.

No student, school or district will be scored on these pilot tests because the purpose is to “test the test,” said State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson.

”It is an exciting time for our students and our schools as California prepares to usher in assessments that reflect more of the real world than a bubble test ever could.”

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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The Union Updated Feb 20, 2014 08:59AM Published Feb 21, 2014 01:42PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.