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New Common Core Standards Go Beyond the School Day

PHOTO: Programs that help kids outside of school hours are working to get up to speed on the new Common Core standards, so they can build on what's being taught in the classroom. Photo credit: iStockphoto.com.
PHOTO: Programs that help kids outside of school hours are working to get up to speed on the new Common Core standards, so they can build on what's being taught in the classroom. Photo credit: iStockphoto.com.
November 4, 2013

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Washington is one of 45 states that have adopted the "Common Core" standards for education - and making them work will require more effort than just during the school day. This Friday, people who run after-school and youth development programs will gather for a workshop to find out how they can help students meet the Common Core goals for subjects such as math and English.

Janet Schmidt, chief program and policy officer, School's Out Washington, said after-school programs do not grade kids, so the pressure is off as they practice new skills that can be made fun and interesting.

"They have that space, that time, to really dig in and experience things hands-on in a new way than what a classroom teacher has during the school day, with the constraints of the schedules that they have."

There's been some concern about how students will be tested to determine whether they're meeting the new standards, but in Washington, Schmidt does not anticipate problems. She said most of the Common Core standards are no more rigorous than what already had been in place.

"I think what it does is, it clearly identifies - both in math and in English-language arts - what kids need to know at each grade level. And then, that will give everyone a chance to support them appropriately at each of those grade levels," she said.

The Common Core standards also include building social and emotional skills for kids, such as teamwork and problem-solving. Schmidt said after-school programs already are known for focusing on those.

The goal of the one-day workshop is to help align after-school activities to reinforce what's being taught during the day, and also for providers to be familiar enough with the Common Core standards to keep parents informed, she said.

Information about the workshop on Friday, Nov. 8, is available by contacting School's Out Washington, 206-336-6932.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA