By Maureen Robertson
Ramona Unified School District will receive nearly $1.2 million from the state to prepare for the Common Core academic standards that will take effect in English and math next school year.
School districts can decide for themselves how to use the money to train teachers, buy new materials and purchase technology to help adapt to the new standards, Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public education, said in his announcement on Sept. 3.
The Common Core State Standards are designed “to provide students with a deeper learning, critical thinking and other skills they need to prepare for college and a career,” said Torlakson.
The money represents about $200 per student.
Ramona Unified moved teachers Lorraine “Pixie” Sulser and Leslie Wilson to the district office as “teachers on assignment” to work with Senior Director of Education Services Theresa Grace to coordinate and provide professional development related to Common Core implementation.
The district has two years to spend the money, district Superintendent Robert Graeff said, noting that it is restricted money that can only be used for Common Core.
School trustees are expected to discuss a plan for spending the money at their Sept. 19 meeting. At the request of Trustee Rodger Dohm, the district may hold a workshop on Common Core and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Education).
“I think there’s going to be lots of discussion,” Dohm said at the school board’s August meeting. “I think community members are going to want to ask questions, too. I don’t think it’s just going to be us. I think wee need to be educated as much as the community needs to maybe throw their ideas in as well as ask questions.”
California adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, and the education department developed the “CCSS Systems Implementation Guide” with suggestions and resources for districts, said Torlakson.
“The guide takes the guesswork out of implementing a local plan,” he said.