A new way to teach - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

A new way to teach

Cd'A trustees consider Core Knowledge program

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Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 5:41 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

COEUR d'ALENE - "Knowledge builds on knowledge."

That is one of the mottos of the Core Knowledge Foundation, a nonprofit organization offering a copyrighted teaching method that has caught the attention of school officials in Coeur d'Alene.

Superintendent Hazel Bauman said during Tuesday's school board meeting that the district is considering the Core Knowledge program as the focus for another magnet school to possibly put in place at Borah Elementary.

"As you know, Borah is a great school with a challenging demographic," Bauman said.

Bauman said there are many families living in poverty in the Borah neighborhood, homes where access to educational opportunities outside of school, like trips to museums, cable television's educational channels and books, are often limited.

Borah Principal Sharon Hanson said she and teachers at the school have just begun looking at what the Core Knowledge program would bring to their students.

"We think it sounds, initially, like it might be a good fit for our kids," Hanson said. "We're in the stage where we just want to know more."

E.D. Hirsch Jr., a former professor at the University of Virginia, developed the Core Knowledge concept, based on his belief that learning depends on a broad base of knowledge, or "cultural literacy." The Virginia-based Core Knowledge Foundation was formed in 1986.

Parents visiting the Core Knowledge website, coreknowledge.org, will read that the teaching method: "provides a carefully sequenced set of skills and content with an emphasis on the knowledge that is most useful and productive for children living in American society today."

"It would be a lens through which curriculum is taught," Bauman said.

The district has several other elementary magnet schools that use unique teaching methods to deliver the curriculums required by the state. Ramsey Elementary uses a science-based curriculum framework; Sorensen is a magnet school for the arts and humanities; and Hayden Meadows is in its last year as a Primary Years Programme school, a copyrighted teaching method offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization. The school board voted last year to discontinue the use of the IBO's programs in district schools.

Bauman said for any program to be successful at a school, it's best if "the growth of the program is somewhat organic."

"The first step is to see if there is interest in this," Bauman said.

The push to consider Core Knowledge in Coeur d'Alene schools came from Brent Regan, the district's newest trustee.

He suggested Tuesday that they encourage teachers throughout the district and beyond, who are familiar with Core Knowledge, to come together to brainstorm.

Regan said he agreed it's important that the decision whether to put the program in place at Borah be based on whether teachers like the program and want to use it.

"With all programs like this there are associated costs," Bauman said.

School officials do not yet know how much the district will have to pay for the program, but Bauman said there will be teacher training costs involved and likely a subscription fee.

Core Knowledge's 2011 Annual Report claims there are more than 1,000 schools in the United States that use all or part of the Core Knowledge system.

There are no Core Knowledge schools in Idaho at this time.

The trustees will meet for a board workshop about the program on Feb. 19.

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6 comments:

  • Screen Name posted at 6:03 am on Sat, Jan 26, 2013.

    Screen Name Posts: 735

    This sounds like a curriculum issue. Is there not a highly paid person at the State or District level whose job it is to develop curriculum for the various grade levels? If so, why then do we need to purchase curriculum from a private company? Is this the privatization of curriculum? Maybe curriculum development will eventually be out sourced to China and we can reduce the cost of administrative salaries here at home.

     
  • parent posted at 1:21 pm on Fri, Jan 25, 2013.

    parent Posts: 346

    pginthemiddle...it's called sarcasm : ) Our board is qualified and doing a GREAT job! Sorry you were unable to appreciate my humor. Oh well !

     
  • apathoid posted at 11:17 am on Fri, Jan 25, 2013.

    apathoid Posts: 211

    Personally I think it is GREAT that the CDA 271 Board is stepping into the leadership roll they are supposed to fill. This district has been focused for a long time on fluffy feel good "everybody gets a medal" BS as well as growing up little global citizens that can't do math.

    I would say if the district can't figure it out, the Board should do it for them.

    This is exactly the kind of leadership I expect...kudos to them.

     
  • pginthemiddle posted at 11:07 am on Fri, Jan 25, 2013.

    pginthemiddle Posts: 83

    And what qualifications do you have, parent, that allow you to blog here? Please pass along the requirements to the rest of us so we can determine if we are qualified to be here.
    Regardless of whether or not vox has a chip, it is their opinion. So let them voice it.

     
  • parent posted at 10:52 am on Fri, Jan 25, 2013.

    parent Posts: 346

    M?. voxpop,
    you have a real chip on your shoulder when it comes to the leadership of the CDA board and the state superintendent. What exactly do you think these leaders need to be qualified to do their job, have an education degree? Do you honestly believe that in your own little world that educators are the only valuable members of our society to oversee our student’s future success? Have you morphed from being Shirley Jones to voxpop? These positions do not require those stipulations and I think for very valid reasons. Different backgrounds bring different filters to see solutions. Educators usually see through the same lens and there needs to be more diversity than a myopic view. This board takes the data that is collected vie the educators and then makes their decisions. Teachers are the primary source of curriculum choice and THEN the board decides for the district which to implement. That is their job! As far as I'm concerned you do not have the necessary qualifications to blog here.

     
  • voxpop posted at 8:54 am on Fri, Jan 25, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    And here I thought "cultural literacy" was an anathema to the current board. One thing is for absolute certainty: the Cda school board should leave the methods of teaching to the professionals. Nurses, whatever their training and skill level are not qualified to do open heart surgery. The school board should oversee the financial management of the district and leave application of theory and experience to those qualified. Having a state superintendent with a degree via the back of a cereal box should make that clear.

     
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