From time to time, we come across an issue we feel deserves a little more exploration than what can be garnered from a single story. So this week, The Sag Harbor Express begins a three-part series on our evolving education.
Our reason for this is simple. With new curricula hitting Sag Harbor students at the elementary and high school levels, we felt it was important to look at the way education is changing both locally and around the country.
No Child Left Behind has, in fact, itself been left behind. In its place this fall are the new Common Core Learning Standards, which 45 states, including New York, have adopted. The curriculum seeks to create a national standard and, in short, encourages students to make wider world connections in their learning. While as parents, we may have heard a bit about Common Core learning styles on “Meet the Teachers” night, many of us still have little idea of what that really means for kids and classrooms. Which is why this week’s piece, by Amanda Wyatt, delves into what Common Core is all about.
Conversely, we will also examine the IB (International Baccalaureate) program at Pierson High School, which was instituted just this fall. In many ways the goal of IB, like Common Core, is to make students active, well-rounded learners. It seeks to do that through in-depth studies that go beyond standardized testing. Whether the program is a success or not is a question that will have to be answered down the road, but in the meantime, how the program is developing at Pierson and early reaction from students, teacher and administrators will be the focus of our story next week.
Finally, the last piece of the series will look at emerging educational styles — including one developed by a Pierson graduate — that takes learning out of the box, literally, and puts it in the hands of the students by taking it on the road.
Public and private education is changing rapidly on many levels, which can be confusing for parents who find, with a change in curriculum, their children are forced to change horses in mid-stream. But it’s also an exciting time. It means that as teachers and administrators are learning themselves about what does and doesn’t work when it comes to educating kids, they are finding new techniques and methods to improve what we all want: The best education possible for our children.