Meridian, Miss. It's that time of the year. Books are being unpacked, computers dusted off, and pencils are getting sharpened. The time to return to school is just a few days away, and while the kids still have one last weekend left in summer, the teachers are already hard at work preparing for the upcoming school year.
Jackie McFarland, the principal at Northwest Middle School, says, "Teachers have been in the classroom already, working in the classrooms getting prepared for the students. Over the summer, we had some teachers that were getting ready for Common Core because we know that that is our next goal which is to accomplish Common Core. And we are going to accomplish Common Core."
Some teachers are new to their schools. Some are new to teaching a certain age group, but at least one says that her understanding of Common Core will help her adapt to her new students.
Jennifer McDonald, who will be teaching middle school for the first time this year, says, "I was fortunate enough to serve on a committee this summer that helped do the pacing guide for six grade math, and write lesson plans, and look at Common Core curriculum. I feel like I have a little bit of a jump start, or at least not going in blind. I've been working on it all summer."
Although many students aren't thrilled about returning to school, some of the teachers are thrilled about the new challenges they will face.
Jonathan Brown, who teaches 6th grade language arts, says, "I’m very excited about this upcoming school year. I look forward to going into Common Core, a new set of standards, a little bit more freedom to expand the kids minds with some critical thinking questions. And I am really looking forward to it."
The teachers understand that it is the first year for Common Core in Mississippi, but they are ready to give it their best effort.