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Beyond the Common Core' conference termed a huge success


JONESBORO, AR – “A huge success” was how Dr. Natalie Johnson-Leslie termed the first “Beyond the Common Core Conference” on the Arkansas State campus Friday, Oct. 26. A total of 140 teachers and administrators in kindergarten through grade 12 along with faculty from the ASU Department of Teacher Education convened to focus on the importance of the “common core” educational standards and examples for effective practice in the classroom. 

“We are absolutely thrilled,” exclaimed Dr. Johnson-Leslie, associate professor of secondary education and chair of the conference. “We thought perhaps we might have about 100 teachers, but it’s great to have 140 registered. The whole conference has run smoothly like a well-oiled machine. This conference is another example of Arkansas State going beyond the classroom to provide education.”

The educators met in the Dean B. Ellis Library, then dispersed to the Carl R. Reng Student Union for various breakout sessions to exchange ideas about the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), as outlined in 2010 by the National Governors Association (NGA), is a set of learning expectations used to prepare students for college and career readiness. A group of 25 speakers spoke in the breakout sessions.    

The CCSS provide a focus on specific skills and concepts in English language arts and mathematics for each grade level. Implementing the CCSS in schools and K-12 classrooms has the potential to transform U.S. education by narrowing achievement gaps and ensuring that every student graduates from high school prepared for college and work.

In addition to preparing and supporting teachers and administrators to meet the CCSS standards, these education leaders will also be required to engage students in more challenging work in the classroom.

To help students acquire higher-level knowledge and skills, teachers may need to improve their own scholastic skills as well as their content knowledge.  Ultimately, K-12 and postsecondary education leaders will have to work together to find strategies for improving preparation and professional development of educators in order that students can be successfully prepared to be college and/or career ready.

“These teachers will leave this conference with knowledge of how to implement these common core standards in the classroom to create a learning environment that will prepare students for current and future success,” said Dr. Johnson-Leslie. “Arkansas State is proud to be a part of this exciting and impactful educational tool.”