Teachers set to get assistance

“This is a significant shift in the way we are approaching teaching and learning.” John White, state superintendent of education

Public school teachers will have a wide array of resources to aid in the launch of tougher academic standards that begin next year, state Superintendent of Education John White said Tuesday.

White also said the resources — called a Classroom Support Toolbox — were crafted by about 150 teachers rather than relying on directives from state education officials.

“When you dictate to teachers from Baton Rouge you effectively rely on the wisdom of bureaucrats, not on the wisdom of educators,” he said.

The new academic rules are called common core standards. Louisiana and 44 other states have adopted the guidelines, which are aimed at making students more competitive worldwide and easier state-to-state comparisons on student achievement.

The new standards take effect for the 2014-15 school year.

“This is a significant shift in the way we are approaching teaching and learning,” White said.

He compared the change with adding 20 yards to a football field.

“It will take some time to get used to how you play defense on a longer field and how you play offense on a longer field,” White said.

Part of the assistance, White said, is an interactive, online feature called Classroom Support Toolbox at the department’s website — Louisianabelieves.com

It includes sample year-long curriculum plans, assessment guides for the upcoming school year and sample assessment questions.

The site also includes the content of every assessment the state will administer and which standards the questions are linked to.

“Make no mistake,” White said. “The tests will be harder.”

He also said about 2,000 educators from across the state will serve as teacher leaders on details of how to use the classroom toolbox, details of the common core standards and how the instruction can be spread out over a school year.

At least one teacher leader will be assigned to each school, he said, and more than one for schools with more than 1,000 students.

Those educators will undergo training April 18-19 in Lafayette and go through a second session later in the year.

In the past, White said, state officials would roll out new tests and tell teachers how and when to teach the material.