Dr. Geary curates digital Common Core for South Dakota
DSU associate professor of education, Dr. Mark Geary, currently serves as one of the content curators for the open-source portal that features digital resources for the Common Core State Standards. South Dakota is one of 45 states that have adopted the Common Core, but only one of two states that are working on digitizing the resources. Michigan created an open-source digital portal called M.O.R.E. two years ago.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has been developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts to provide consistent framework to prepare children for college and the workforce. The National Governors Association Center of Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) coordinate the state-led effort.
Converge magazine, a publication of the Center for Digital Education, recently featured a story on the efforts of Michigan and South Dakota to digitize resources for the Common Core. In the article, Converge states that Michigan already has a solid amount of work done on math, therefore South Dakota is starting on the English language art resources this summer. By selecting grade-level teams of teachers who are tech-minded, South Dakota hopes to use the work of 100 teachers to benefit the 10,000 teachers statewide. The open-source structure of the Common Core helps each state multiply their resources without committing as much time or funds on the project.
This initiative fits into South Dakota’s “Investing in Teachers” package with $8.4 million of the $15 million going toward training in the Common Core for teachers, science academies counselor, workshops and administrator leadership training.
Currently, Geary is part of team meeting in Rapid City, S.D. to review websites with lesson plans that correlate to the upcoming Common Core standards. The process starts with each person on the team submitting 25 links with lessons that pass a very stringent rubric. Geary and a group of ten middle school teachers, out of a larger group of about forty English teachers across all grade levels are working together to help develop their area of curriculum. After the meeting, the South Dakota Department of Education will test out the resources in the classroom between August and October.
The work that Geary and others do on Common Core helps develop curriculum that carries consistency for students in elementary and high schools all across the country. This in turn helps assure that students are being taught the same skills for college and the workforce, regardless of where they are from.