Washington County Schools kicked off the 2012-2013 school year Tuesday with what school officials said was a positive beginning to the new year.
“There was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement among our teachers, our school administrators, and in turn, our students. There was a lot of hugging and smiling faces,” Assistant Director of Schools Karla Kyte said.
In short, Kyte said school officials couldn’t have asked for a better first day of school.
Student enrollment has sustained this year, with approximately 9,000 students in the system’s 15 schools.
There aren’t too many changes to instruction or organization this year other the implementation of the Common Core State Standards initiative, which is a major overhaul of state curriculum.
Common Core is a rigourous new program aimed at better preparing for students for college and the work force.
Tennessee is one of 45 states that have adopted Common Core.
Kyte said the new curriculum challenges students in thinking and problem solving.
This year, Common Core is being implemented in kindergarten though second grade, while grades 3-8 will be taught using the new standards in math only.
By 2013-14, all grades in the state will be using the new curriculum.
The new curriculum has been described by educators as having lesser standards, which allows teachers to go more in-depth with material.
While Common Core is certainly more challenging, Kyte said its stronger focus on material should have a positive effect on student performance.
“I think it’s important for students as they transition into college and career preparation that they be able to articulate their thoughts, so it is a positive change. It’s a difficult change, and challenging, but I think it’s needed,” she said.