Eau Claire School District prepares for new school year

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- The countdown is on to the first day of school, and it's not just parents and kids getting. The Eau Claire School District has been busy preparing the curriculum for this next year.

That includes implementing the Common Core State Standards. The standards focus on English literature and math skills. The goal is to make math more focused and understandable and to make sure students have the English skills necessary for college or a career.

The new standards also provide a way for teachers to measure students’ progress throughout the school year.

Wisconsin adopted the Common Core State Standards in June of 2010 and the Eau Claire School District has been working on getting their local curriculum to align with the standards. It's a collaborative effort between the district and the teachers that hasn't been a simple process.

Danielle Johnson, mother of two, says she believes the standards are more of a hassle than they are beneficial. She says, "I think it's a poor idea because I think every area is different, and kids are just different throughout the whole county and our area especially."

But, the Eau Claire School District says, it has high hopes for the standards, aimed at raising the achievement levels of students across the country.

"I do think that in the long run it's going to benefit students, because these are just things we want all students to know and to learn," says Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck. However, she does say it’s taken quite a bit of professional development to reach the paint they’re at now.
“I think it's been a challenge for teachers because it's almost like you're in the middle of your work and you have to take a little pause and reflect. Of course it also always involves extra time, extra discussion, but people have been very cooperative about working through this process, and I think they've seen how it will help the students,” says Hardbeck.

Terrie Goettl, with the school district says teachers now look to the standards as their guide."I think the time that we've taken to really dig into the standards, to really understand the standards to be really reassuring, and now we have a really solid guide that we follow," says Goettl.

Goettle also says the district will continue utilizing the standards to provide students with the tools they need. She say, "We do what we can do today so that tomorrows students have the things they need to be successful."

Dr. Hardebeck says the curriculum will be ready for the students' first day on September 2nd.

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