Superintendent Manuel Rivera announced Tuesday night he is recommending that the choice of a K-5 English Language curriculum be delayed an scheduled for implementation in the 2014-2015 school year.
The curriculum is needed for the transition to Common Core State Standards. A committee of teachers and school administrators, including one elementary school teacher from each school, spent six full days over the past school year studying the curriculum options. About 50 people attended a BOE curriculum committee meeting last month on the topic, expressing concern that the board would choose a different curriculum than the ones preferred by the committee.
A public speaker at Tuesday’s meeting addressed the topic.
“I know how much time and effort the ELA committee spent analyzing the K-five language arts program,” said Howie Ziperstein, a Cranbury Elementary School teacher who lives in Sandy Hook. “Because of the elementary school teachers’ educational background and understanding of what is necessary to implement the Common Core Standards at the elementary level, you should follow their recommendation.”
He asked if board members had visited each school, and said the teachers know best.
“We cannot go another school year without a language arts program that is consistent throughout the district and relevant to the Common Core as well as being the most highly rated program,” he said. “… To wait until 2014-2015 would be major disservice to the 5,232 elementary students of Norwalk.”
Rivera said the last board vote on the topic was essentially a referendum asking for his input on the topic. He said he has met with the committee, spoken to national experts on literacy, studied the rubrics and performance data.
The schedule that was drawn up for the transition called for 2013-2014 to be a development year for K-5 curriculum, with adoption in 2014-2015, he said.
“It’s too late at this point to bring in trainers that would actually be ready in September,” he said. “I think we need to take this time, make sure we have the absolute best input that I can provide, since that is what I have been asked to do and that is what I intend to do.”