CHAUMONT – Lyme Central School teachers, after learning through trial and error about how the new Common Core standards can challenge the former approach to teaching, held an informational session for parents with students in kindergarten through second grade.
There are a lot of questions that even we had a hard time answering at the beginning of the year, second-grade teacher Sarah McClusky said. The whole staff saw a need and saw parents struggling with the new materials. We thought this could be a way to make that palatable.
Ms. McClusky, along with four other elementary teachers, presented an overview on the reading materials the children are learning and the different ways Common Core standards address the same problems when it comes to math or applying lessons to things students can do and see in the classroom. At the beginning of the evening Wednesday, parents were asked to fill out cards with things they like about the Common Core standards and things they have questions about. Ms. McClusky also went over the how parents can help their children at home with school and helpful links on the New York state website, EngageNY.org.
More than 50 parents attended the first-time event. Elementary Principal Barry K. Davis said the district hopes to have another session for parents with children in higher grades later in the year.
We wanted to start off small with you so it could be more intimate and people could really share, Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Davis reassured parents with students in higher grade levels that the Common Core standards and testing will apply only to students in fourth grade and below.
Mr. Davis said he was proud of his teachers for taking the initiative to put the event together for parents.
Mrs. McClusky said some of the biggest questions parents had at the beginning of the school year were about the reading levels their children would start the year at and where they would finish. She said pupils in kindergarten who began at a level 3 in October are expected to be reading at level 6 by May.
The reading material is going to be able to connect through the grade levels, Mrs. McClusky said. She said one of the ways parents can help their children is to read with them every chance they get. The teachers said at the kindergarten through second grade reading levels it isnt always important for children to have math homework every night, but if they want to practice, they should.
The teachers manuals also have helpful hints in their teachers guide on how to make the materials students are reading relatable.
For math, Mrs. McClusky said, the focus is to learn more and build skills across the grade levels with interactive activities.
She told parents if they would like to do research on their own, the best way to retrieve information would be to go to EngageNY.org and focus on Parents and Family Resources link. She said the website has online games that can help reinforce what students are learning, as well as helpful toolkits for parents and family members to follow along the lesson plans.
Mr. Davis said he was surprised by the turnout.
We werent sure what to expect, Mr. Davis said. Really good to see everyone came out; there is a lot to learn.
Lyme Superintendent Karen M. Donahue said the more the community can learn about Common Core standards, the more students will benefit from the program.