The last days in July up to the beginning of Aug. 1 are busy days for parents getting their children ready for the start of the school year. Shopping for new clothes, shoes, backpacks, papers, pencils, and pens is part of all that preparation.
Just as preoccupied during these hectic days are these students’ teachers, especially with Manteca Unified poised to adopt the new curriculum standards known as Common Core.
“This year, we’re adopting new curriculum for English and Language Arts and then implementing that,” said Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke.
California has the Common Core Standards in place; however, schools throughout the state will have a three-year grace period in terms of their accountability with respect to the annual STAR Testing, which has been renamed Smarter Balance Assessment.
That’s a big part of the teachers’ preparations taking place before Aug. 6, the first day of the school year when students get to meet their new teachers in the classroom setting.
Prior to that, their teachers will have three days of prep days and in-service training. The two are not one and the same. They will be taking place during the three-days prior to August 6.
The teacher preparation day is the traditional time for teachers to get their classrooms and materials together so their classes will be ready when the schools open for the students, Burke said. Those are hectic times for teachers as they organize desks and chairs in their classrooms, prepare instructional materials and have them ready for their students, work on lesson plans or curriculum maps, and start collaborating with their peers, among other tasks.
On top of that will be the in-service training provided to all the teachers. It could involve group training, or training for a specific grade level coming from the school district. This can also involve training that a principal needs to give out to the school’s staff, Burke explained.