County offers Common Core workshops for teachers |

County offers Common Core workshops for teachers

For teachers looking to become better versed in the states new Common Core Standards, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office is providing a series of workshops for educators around the county to help with learning how Common Core can be incorporated into a teacher's daily curriculum.

The workshops will be in August and will cover subjects for students K-12, which include planning lesson objectives, general standards and problem solving for math, next generation science, and raising student literacy.

The workshops will be conducted by a coaching team of eight teachers who have been hired, and will receive an annual stipend, for helping to coach teachers in Common Core Standards.

"It is important to note that our coaching team, which I direct, has only been in existence for four months," Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Director of Curriculum Instruction and Accountability Kathleen Kiefer said. "We began with site visits and teacher surveys. We then classified responses from educators and created workshops to fulfill their unique needs."

In May, the county office, in collaboration with its coaching team, hosted a series of three workshops designed to give teachers a basic understanding of Common Core and how to design lessons for the 2014-2015 school year using curriculum and materials they already have.

"Because I and the coaches are veteran teachers from our county, we have a special connection and insight that helps us be a most effective resource for our schools," Kiefer said.

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According to Assistant to the Associate Superintendent Judy Nielsen, for a number of years the county started off with a series of four math workshops to help teachers with lesson planning, and those workshops culminated, unintentionally, with the transition of workshops on Common Core.

"So this is a continuation of that, but under a whole new format," Nielsen said. "It's really a very wonderful and exciting piece to have four English language arts teachers and four math teachers to be a part of these new workshops. It's very exciting for us to have our own teachers in our own community to be the coaches for our educational arena."

Kiefer said in order to meet teacher's needs, the office conducted research and professional development surveys to address subjects and issues that teachers wanted to learn more about.

"We made countless phone calls, emails, and meetings initiated by superintendents, principals, and teachers who need targeted support and resources that we provide on a daily basis," Kiefer said. "I have also gone in to classrooms to work with students and teachers for curriculum and instruction support."

The county will be bringing in out-of-county educators to support the workshops as well, including Phil Romig from the Sacramento County Office of Education, who will work with teachers on "Next Generation Science Standards."

For additional support, Kiefer also provides a monthly newsletter for teachers offering Common Core tips, information, and links to vetted resources.

"A lot of what our teachers want is hands-on workshops," Nielsen said. "They want to develop their lesson plans, they want to really know what this will look like in their classrooms, and that's what we are providing them."

The next series of workshops will be from Aug. 4 – 8 at the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office annex, and subjects will range from lesson development to teaching math problem solving.

"Everything the coaching team and I do is dictated by the districts according to what they want and need," Kiefer said.

"By serving the district leaders and their teachers, we help to improve the education of literally hundreds of students with every passing workshop, meeting, and collaboration."

For more information go to or contact Judy Nielsen at

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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