Sunday, February 1, 2015

English language arts and mathematics standards

Dodge City Daily Globe

Jarrett E. Brown

September 24, 2013

USD 443 teachers adjust to state standards

English language arts and mathematics standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards education initiatives will change the way that teachers teach and children learn. 

In order for the goals of the initiatives to be met and for children to receive the education that will enable them to be successful at post-secondary institutions and in careers, teachers will have to receive training and development which will help them to fulfill their new responsibilities.

According to Judy Beedles-Miller, assistant superintendent of elementary education for Unified School Distict 443, and Mischel Miller, the assistant superintendent of secondary education for USD 443, the district has developed and implemented a plan for helping teachers become familiar with and adjust to the standards. 

The district’s teachers meet weekly in small groups to discuss the standards and consult with each other, in what Miller termed “professional learning communities.”

In the groups, the teachers are able to speak to colleagues who teach the same grade-level as well as colleagues who teach in lower- and higher-grade-levels.  The teachers discuss how to move students ahead in a way that ensures that all students who arrive at a given grade-level will be able to perform at the same level as their peers, Beedles-Miller said. 

“We work locally as a team.  High school teachers are working with middle school teachers.  It flows [vertically.]  It [the body of knowledge] builds through high school,” Beedles-Miller said.

Miller, who has previously been employed in smaller school districts, believes that the professional development and support that USD 443 teachers receive is more than sufficient. 

“I am very impressed with the professional development opportunities this district provides,” she said.

Thus far, the district’s teachers have been receptive to the changes in policy, according to Miller. 
“They are the ones who said this is best for kids,” Miller said.  “The teachers say that the students [are now] much further ahead.”

Garry Sigle, the executive director of the Kansas Association of American Educators (KANAAE,) a professional organization for teachers, declined to comment on how teachers in Kansas are affected by CCSS and KCCRS.  He deferred to the communications director for the national Association of American Educators (AAE.)

Alexandra Freeze, the director of communications and advocacy for KANAAE’s national organization, said that its members have expressed a variety of views about CCSS and KCCRS. 
The organization conducted a poll of its members about the implementation of the standards and the support and training that the teachers receive.  Nationally, more teachers feel that the implementation of the standards is going smoothly than those who believe that it is going poorly, Freeze said. 

There are approximately 1,500 KANAAE members in Kansas, more than 100 of which participated in the survey, according to Freeze.

“48 percent of teachers believe CCSS implementation is running smoothly, while 41 percent of teachers are neutral, and 11 percent believe implementation in their state is going poorly,” Freeze said.

“We are hearing mixed reactions from members about preparation.  Some feel prepared and some do not feel supported through the process,” Freeze said.  “Just like in any other new initiative, it’s critical that teachers are getting the professional development they need when implementing a sweeping new policy.”

“At AAE and KANAAE, we’ve provided significant resources for teachers going through the transition,” Freeze added.

Neither the national organization nor the Kansas branch has endorsed CCSS due to uncertainty about how the standards will affect teachers in the long-run.

“While the jury is still out on the implementation process and its effect on the flexibility of curriculum, KANAAE/AAE members appear to be moving in the direction of support for consistent standards,” Freeze said.

Conqs beat Hutch in OT, 40-34

Conqs beat Hutch in OT, 40-34
Jarrett E. Brown
Dodge City Daily Globe
September 16, 2013
The Dodge City Community College Conquistadors defeated the Hutchinson Community College Blue Dragons 40-34, in an exciting, high-scoring match-up on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium in Dodge City.
After an unimpressive first possession, the Conqs were forced to punt from the 50-yard line.
Luckily for the Conqs, Hutchinson punt-return man Chris Murray couldn’t get a handle on the ball. 
The Conqs’ Sheldon Bayliff recovered the fumble on the Hutchinson 22-yard line.
Quarterback Deondre Ford led the Conqs down to the Hutchinson 1-yard line, at which time reserve quarterback Charlie Wilson was sent in to replace him.
On his first play of the possession, Wilson plunged over the goal line for a touchdown.
Kicker Manny Castillo added the extra point.
Hutchinson responded with a long drive which included a long-kickoff return, a reception, and two-rushing attempts, all by running back Orange Mooney. 
Quarterback Luke Barnes capped the drive with a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jabril Soloman.
Hutchinson kicker Ryan Reese missed the extra-point attempt.
On the ensuing possession, the Conqs only needed 5 plays to advance 71 yards for another touchdown. 
Wide receiver Devonte Robinson scored from 10-yards-out on a sweep play towards the right side of the field. 
The successful field-goal attempt put the Conqs up 14-6.
Hutchinson’s next possession was cut short when Conqs linebacker Logan Orso intercepted Hutchinson quarterback Luke Barnes on the Dodge City 6-yard line.
After driving 81 yards, the Conqs’ Ford found wide receiver William French for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Conqs led Hutchinson 20-13 after an unsuccessful extra-point attempt by Castillo.
Hutchinson running back Chase Abbington registered the third-period’s first-points when he took the ball into the end zone from 10-yards-out.
Four possessions later, at the 3:23 mark of the third quarter, Hutchinson’s Barnes completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Murray. 
The successful point-after attempt put Hutchinson up, 27-20.
Dodge City evened the score at 27 when running back Tyreis Thomas scored from one-yard out with 12:15 left in the fourth quarter.
Both teams were quiet offensively until the Conqs’ Charlie Wilson caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Ford with 40 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.
The Conqs led 34-27 after Castillo added the extra point. 
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Conqs forced Shane Brittain to kick from deep in Dodge City territory.
A 26-yard return by Chris Murray brought Hutchinson to the Dodge City 40-yard line.
Barnes, the Hutchinson quarterback made five-consecutive passing attempts, including a two-yard touchdown to Abbington.
At the end of regulation, the score was tied at 34.
Dodge City won the coin toss and elected to kick-off rather than take possession first. 
The decision to play defense paid-off when Conqs defensive end Chris Herise sacked Barnes and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Dodge City linebacker Josh Williams.
On the third play of the following possession, from the Hutchinson 25-yard line, Ford, the Conqs quarterback, threw a 24-yard pass to French which he nearly took into the end zone.
Thomas, the running back, scored the game-winning touchdown in exciting fashion from one-yard out.
Conqs running back Tyreis Thomas followed-up last week’s national award-winning performance with another stellar game.  Thomas had 114-rushing yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score.  He added three receptions totaling 13 yards.
Ford threw for 292 yards and two-touchdown passes for the Conqs.
Dodge City wide receiver William French had 8 receptions for 140 yards and one touchdown.
Hutchinson running back Chase Abbington averaged 5.7 yards on 17 carries for a total of 97 yards and one touchdown.  Abbington also had three receptions for 28 yards and two touchdowns.
Luke Barnes, the Hutchinson quarterback, had 167-passing yards and four touchdowns, but was intercepted once and sacked three times.
Jabril Soloman led the Hutchinson receiving corps in receptions and yards with four catches for 82 yards and he added one score.
Despite having won three out of their first four games, Dodge City head coach Gary Thomas said that the Conqs have work to do in some areas of the game.
“It’s nice to fix things after a win rather than after a loss,” Thomas added.
Thomas is eager to see how the Conqs will progress during the rest of the season.

“There is a lot of football left and we’re excited,” he said.