MPS Board of School Directors to discuss Common Core Standards program

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Public Schools Board of School Directors met Wednesday evening, October 17th to discuss the recently implemented Common Core Standards and new report cards grading MPS schools expected to be released Monday.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Common Core Standards are academic standards for 21 separate content areas. Wisconsin adopted Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics in 2010. In addition, Wisconsin adopted Common Core State Standards for Literacy in All Subjects.

Wisconsin adopted these Common Core Standards in 2010, but school districts did not have to immediately adopt them. MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said back in September MPS is using a comparable system while preparing for the switch.

For more general information on general common core standards, CLICK HERE.

Thornton said since 45 states have adopted the standards, it will be easier to see how MPS compares to other districts.

School officials said the only drawback to adopting this Common Core Standards program might be early struggles for students. However, they say even that could be a good thing.

"You may see drops in scores across the nation because it's not so much the students are doing worse. We raised the standards and are saying 'our students can compete internationally,'" Michael Bonds, President of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors said.

To make the switch a complete success, Thornton says MPS needs help from outside the classroom.

"What I really would love to see is more parents involved in actually helping us move the agenda along at home, and utilize these new opportunities to change the conversation they have with their children and more than anything, begin to raise the expectations," Thornton said.

Along with these new curriculum standards, the state is now measuring students' true college and career readiness with a new report card that will be unveiled to the public Monday, October 22nd.

Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction will begin to implement school report cards on a yearly basis.

"We have to set the bar higher if we really want our students to succeed in college and careers and that`s what these DPI reports do. These report cards look at three years of academics, look at overall academic achievement and closing the gaps between students as a whole and certain subsets of students," MPS spokesman Tony Tagliavia siad.

Students must earn higher scores in order to be considered proficient under the new standards. Each school is scored from 0-100, with ratings ranging from "failure to meet expectations" to "significantly exceeding expectations."

"We expect schools needing more help on the list as just another indication of where we need to continue to put that support," Tagliavia said.

Tagliavia points to the Common Core Standards program as the key helping students succeed in meeting these new expectations.

"Things we`ve been doing -- continue to implement the Common Core (program), revamping the tutoring program that is federally funded, naming the 10 GE Foundation demonstration schools that will be models of success -- countless steps were talking as a district to move students forward and really that key there is the Common Core (program)," Tagliavia said.

The new report card rolls out Monday and can be accessed on the web. MPS will issue a news release, a parent guide and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

CLICK HERE for additional information via the Wisconsin DPI website.

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