SHEPHERDSVILLE - There is one thing for sure about the education profession. You better be ready for change.
When the state General Assembly wiped out the former testing procedures of the Kentucky Education Reform Act, Senate Bill 1 was approved.
In that, the state department of education was given the assignment on how to move forward with improving the system across the commonwealth.
This fall, the yet to be seen standards will begin in earnest.
But Bullitt County officials are pleased that thanks to a $2.4 million EduJobs federal grant, teachers will get an opportunity to see the new standards prior to the opening of the next school year.
Superintendent Keith Davis said he felt the new standards and assessments would be much better than the previous format.
“Boiling down the standards from broad statements about students should learn to an understandable curriculum to be implemented by our teachers will take a lot of work,” said Davis.
At this time, local education officials are working with teams across the state to break down the standards. Once that is done, it is time for the local districts to determine how each lesson would be taught.
“We want to do so in a consistent manner so that our students are exposed to the same high level of instruction across the district,” said Davis.
One major change in time since KERA was approved in 1990 has been the freedom in curriculum. In the beginning, school districts were encouraged to allow teachers and schools to map their own curriculum with less guidance from the central office.
However, seeing the problems which arose from that, Bullitt County is one of many districts which have started several years ago to align its curriculum so that students in each school are on the same pace and learning the same subject matter.
Thanks to the federal money, Davis envisions having teachers report for five days of training prior to the start of the 2011-12 school year.
Teachers would be paid for their time and Davis said the training would be vital to make the difficult transition a little easier.
One problem is that the standards may not be available from the state until early summer. That gives just a couple of months to get things ready for the local level.
In the long run, Davis said the new standards will be much better and the new assessments will fairly show how well students are learning.
The test is not yet created for spring 2012 but Davis said he was confident that the things the district is currently doing are working and that progress will only continue in the years to come.
With any additional money, Davis said he hopes to hire monitoring administrators at the high school level to assist principals and teachers with things like data and testing.
The EduJobs grant is a one-time appropriation but Davis said the money would be put to good use.
“That is money that will help the kids as we continue to improve our teaching skills,” said Davis. “We are moving in the right direction and we have made a lot of progress. But we have a long way to go.”