Press-Republican

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January 11, 2013

State Education chief visits North Country schools

CHAMPLAIN — Students at Northeastern Clinton Middle School were paid a special visit Thursday afternoon by New York State Commissioner of Education Dr. John King Jr.

He stopped by as part of his two-day tour of the region, which also included a stop at Schroon Lake Central School Thursday morning, followed by a lunchtime engagement at which educators from CV-TEC and Crown Point and Northern Adirondack central schools made presentations highlighting work being done at their institutions.

The focus of the commissioner’s visit to the region, which was hosted by Champlain Valley Educational Services, was to get an idea of how schools are doing with implementing the state-mandated Common Core Learning Standards and Annual Professional Performance Review or teachers and principals.

“In particular, one of the things that we’re doing this year is trying to visit each region to see how implementation of the Common Core Standards is going and also to see how implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluations is going,” King told the Press-Republican.

STUDENT-LED LEARNING

While at NCCS, King spoke with administrators and visited several classrooms, where he observed students and teachers engaged in course work.

Middle School Principal Thomas Brandell said he hoped to show King how the school is making a shift towards student-led learning, which is a goal of the state’s education initiatives.

“I want to see him see students actively engaged in the learning process, and I want him to see it authentically,” Brandell said.

In one classroom, King looked on as students sat in groups and worked together on math problems.

He said he was “struck by their comfort level in discussing mathematical reasoning with their peers.”

That was encouraging, he noted.

COMFORT LEVELS DIFFER

After observing a social studies class in session, King said he took notice of the fact that students offered evidence to support their arguments, which is a key goal of the Common Core Learning Standards.

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