Lauderdale County, Miss. Parents and community leaders at Northeast Middle School Thursday morning received more than just breakfast, but also some food for thought; it was about a new initiative called Common Core.
Mississippi is one of more than 44 states that has adopted it. The Common Core Curriculum will require Mississippi students to take the exact same exams as students in other states which have also adopted the model.
On this day parents were able to see first hand how each class at Northeast Middle School is preparing for the language part of the curriculum.
"To do this some of the teachers are using mini plays, presentations, speeches, arguing a point, or having students to give an opinion on a text," says NEMS Principal Billy Burnham.
"When presenting I tell the students that when they're in the audience it's their job is to keep eye contact with the people who are presenting," says NEMS Gifted Teacher Debbie Wedgeworth.
"You know Mississippi has implemented full Common Core standard this year," says Principal Burnham. "We'll be taking some pilot tests across the state and district, but next year we will be taking full Common Core assessments and the MCT-2 that we now take will be over."
The language portion of the Common Core Curriculum puts strong emphasis on: writing, reading and listening skills, along with strengthening justification skills when it comes to math and reading lessons. Ultimately, education officials say the purpose is to improve the communication skills for the future workforce.
"It's good to have communication skills because that's part of life, and as you go through life with jobs and anything else you've got to have communication skills," says Donsha Harris, who is the father of a 7th grade student at NEMS.
"We can talk all day long, but until that other person understands what we're saying and we understand them, we don't have that total communication," says Wedgeworth.
"Well, Common Core will be how we're compared to the rest of the nation which also has the Common Core standards," says Burnham. "So, when we start our tests next year, it will be the measuring stick to see how we stack up against other states."