ALPENA - The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Board of Education heard good news from superintendent Brian Wilmot that the state Senate and House approved a revised version of the Common Core State Standards and released funding to allow implementation of the frozen assets at its meeting on Thursday.
"Last month we talked about the Senate had not taken action to support it," Wilmot said. "They ultimately did support the implementation of common core and sent it back to the House with some minor modifications. The House also passed it and then they released funding to support the implementation which was really what the district needed. We've already invested lots of money state wide on the common core so it would've really been a step backwards for us to abandon it after all the dollars that have been spent on it."
Funding related to with the Common Core State Standards was released again just recently, and schools have been using the funds in Title 1 grants.
"It's not new money. It's in grants that we were already getting like Title 1 grants and things like that, so it's not money specifically for the implementation, but they would have restricted funds so that you couldn't use those dollars to implement it," Wilmot said. "Its not like they're giving us more, it's just allowing us to use the money that we already are getting to help with the implementation."
These standards are given throughout the state and every student at each grade level would have learning targets. The expectation is that all students would reach the targets, but the standards don't dictate how teachers and districts have to get to those levels.
"The common core doesn't say 'here's your curriculum, follow this.' It says 'here's the target of things we want you to learn, and however you get there is left to you." Wilmot said. "Which still allows for local control and teachers to determine best teaching practices and things like that."
According to Wilmot, these are new standards in which 45 states have expressed a resolution in support of. Before the Common Core State Standards, there wasn't a standard set for each grade level. This allowed for a lot of variance in the levels of education in each classroom, making it difficult to have consistency across the board. The standards outline the most important targets that all teachers should be shooting for at each grade level.
The board also performed a routine resolution to approve summer tax collection in Alcona County and the City of Alpena for 2014. This will permit the ESD to continue its collection practices in these areas and authorize the administration to negotiate, again this year, with the City of Alpena for collection of 100 percent of the ESD levy.
"We collect taxes in the summer so we have funds to pay the bills, otherwise if we just waited until the winter, bills would be piled on," Wilmot said. "It's a cash flow thing. We do this every year. We have to pass a resolution to tell the taxing authorities that we want them to collect the taxes."
In other business:
the distribution of items from the closed Sprinkler Lake Education Center was met with gratitude from the Alpena, Atlanta, Alcona and Hillman school districts.
Pied Piper principal Mary Zann reported to the board on the curriculum and community involvement with students at the opportunity center including "Ready, Set" programs and recreational activities at local area businesses.
the next board meeting will be Dec. 12 at Pied Piper at 6 p.m.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.