State mandates tougher learning standards in schools - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

State mandates tougher learning standards in schools

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SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) – Students may need to hit the books a little harder this school year. The state of Ohio is mandating districts adopt new, tougher learning standards by 2014 to better align with national expectations.

Leaders at Springfield Local Schools have chosen to implement these new learning standards early in the upcoming school year for first and second grades. They said it is a big change for teachers and students with a more rigorous curriculum.

First-grade teacher Shannon Gwozdz said her back to school jitters are a little stronger this year because for the first time she will be teaching to new, tougher standards.

"Anything new is a little nerve-racking, but since we know it is better, it makes it a little easier," said Gwozdz.

The state is mandating all districts adopt the common core standards, replacing the aged, Ohio content standards. Springfield Local Schools Superintendent Kathryn Hott calls it a big change that parents and students will notice.

"It is mindboggling in terms of the expectation level and rigor in which the students are expected to perform," said Hott.

Hott said students will be learning at a more accelerated rate. For example, something taught in second grade may now be taught in first.

Report cards will be different to reflect the new curriculum.

"They are pretty rigorous. So they will see a difference in expectations and what we want children to have achieved at different time intervals," explained Hott.

Teachers are getting trained for the new standards. Materials, such as textbooks, are being evaluated.

"It's a growing pain. We've got to get through the challenge of implementing a new set of standards. Once we do that, I think you'll see the results," said Gwozdz.

The state will begin testing the new standards in the 2014-2015 school year.

Toledo Public Schools will also begin implementing the new standards this year.

Hott said she is concerned test scores will suffer if teachers and students do not have enough time to adjust. As a result, the new standards will expand to every grade in the Springfield School District next year.

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