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Rochester teachers Melissa Cunliffe and Sara Cantrell talk about competency based learning and New Hampshire’s new assessment strategy

As one of New Hampshire’s four PACE school districts, Rochester is ground zero for working out the future New Hampshire public education, giving children the opportunity to learn in their own way.  But Rochester’s educators and their leadership are not being shown a new way to teach; they are building new ways for their children to learn, from the ground up.

To see how it’s going, I spent yesterday with the wonderful Maple Street Magnet School principal Robin Brown visiting five schools at every grade level.  I came away amazed at how completely this 4,300 student district and its 346 teachers have committed to their new path. (more…)

Hollis/Brookline High School algebra teacher: “The Common Core is what good teachers have been doing all along!”

At the June 16 Hollis/Brookline Common Core forum, Tammy Leonard, Hollis Brookline High School Algebra II teacher, reported back on how the Common Core math standards have worked on in her classroom.  She found that the new standards enabled her to teach as she had always wanted. (more…)

Jenn Manning, Newton kindergarten teacher: “My students used to write fairy tales. Now they write opinion pieces.”

At the June 16 Hollis/Brookline Common Core forum, Ms. Jenn Manning, Newton Elementary School kindergarten teacher tells it like it is. (more…)

Here are three NH teachers who oppose the Common Core

I always say things like, “Virtually all NH teachers I’ve talked to with Common Core classroom experience are strong supporters of the new standards.”  That’s true.  But still, some NH teachers do disagree with the standards.  Here are three examples. (more…)

Middle school math teacher Jamie Sirois explains Common Core rigor: “I’ve made big changes in how I prepare for my classroom.”

Jamie Sirois, Stratham Cooperative Middle School teacher and Learning Area Leader, along with two of other colleagues from Bow Memorial School and Winnisquam Regional, gave a great workshop on the Common Core math standards at the NEA-NH Spring Instructional Conference at Bow High School on April 5th.

Among other things, she said,

“Rigor requires conceptual understanding, procedural skill, fluency and the ability to apply math to real problems.  It is an equal balance of these three that creates rigor.”


Reading specialist Wendy Mahoney talks about how the new standards work at Barka Elementary School in Derry

The New Hampshire Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – the folks who lead curriculum development in each school district – organized a visit to innovative Derry schools yesterday.  The first stop was Ernest P. Barka Elementary School.

Before the classroom visits, reading specialist and former 3rd grade teacher Wendy Mahoney told visitors about the success Barka has already seen in its new Common Core-based reading programs. (more…)

Portsmouth teachers illustrate Common Core results – Portsmouth Herald

Last night, Portsmouth elementary school teachers demonstrated the impact of the new Common Core standards in their classrooms.  There were no debates about “developmental appropriateness” or who wrote or funded the standards.  The teachers were just reporting to the school board on the impressive results of their teaching to the new standards in their first and third grade classrooms. (more…)

Kimberly Kelliher, social studies teacher and curriculum leader at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, testifies based on her first hand Common Core experience

Kim Kelliher’s school, Prospect Mountain High School, is jointly managed as SAU#301 by Alton and Barnstead.  Each town has its own K-8 elementary/middle school. (more…)

Sanborn Regional teachers talk about the new Smarter Balanced test

Virtually all New Hampshire school districts are down the road toward using the new Common Core standards to guide their curricula and lesson plans. New Hampshire is scheduled to start using the new Smarter Balanced annual test in the spring of 2015, but many teachers have already reviewed preliminary versions of the test or taken a sample test. (more…)

Sanborn Regional teachers make the Common Core fun for their kindergarten students

We hear concerns about whether the Common Core is developmentally appropriate in the early grades, but the New Hampshire teachers I talk to don’t share that concern.

On my recent visit to the Sanborn Regional School District in Kingston and Newton, the passion for their teaching and their commitment to making the new standards work for their students were clear. (more…)