Key Coverage

Teachers Embrace the Common Core

Even many teachers typically resistant to change have been open to the Common Core in Washoe County, [Nevada,] says [district literacy coordinator] Torrey Palmer.

She thinks it has a lot to do with the fact that the [school district's] Core Task Project has been teacher led. “It gives teachers a voice,” says Palmer. “This is not something that’s being done to them. They want to do this.”

The Core Task Project now involves hundreds of teachers in more than 1,400 classrooms across the Washoe County School district, according to [district teacher trainer] Aaron Grossman.

One of the project’s goals is to help teachers make and find good curriculum materials. Publishers stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars selling new Common Core books and products, and there are lots of things out there that say they’re “aligned” to the Common Core. But Grossman says many publishers are just slapping new labels on old products, and he’s suspicious.

“We’ve just got to be really smart about what is available for us,” says Grossman. Teachers can make their own lesson plans and skip the high price tag. “I’d rather have the district pay teachers for their time than pay publishers for their products,” he says.

As for the school district leadership in Washoe County, they’re on board with the teacher-led approach.

“There’s a lot to be said about a grassroots effort,” says Scott Bailey, the chief academic officer. “Teachers are rolling up their sleeves, embracing this transition.”