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Norwich Administrators Stress the Importance of Time and Money in Common Core Implementation

Norwich administrators Kristie and Joe spoke to the state's Common Core Task Force at a meeting today in Cromwell.

Norwich administrators Kristie Bourdoulous and Joe Stefon spoke to the state’s Common Core Task Force at a meeting today in Cromwell.

This year it has cost the Norwich Public Schools approximately $1.5 million to implement the Common Core State Standards (CSSS) in the city’s K-8 system.

This money has come from state funds Norwich has received as an Alliance School District and from other grants, according to Joe Stefon, Norwich’s curriculum and instruction director. He presented late this afternoon to members of Connecticut’s new CCSS Task Force, which is striving to come up with actionable and specific recommendations to improve the CCSS rollout.

Stefon said that Norwich adopted a new literacy workshop model to implement the CCSS, and the district has placed instructional specialists in each school along with new instructional materials in each classroom. He added that his district has depended upon consultant help from the University of Connecticut, along with a partnership with Columbia’s Teachers College.  Also important, he said, is embedded professional development and time for teachers to collaborate with their colleagues.

His colleague, Kristie Bourdoulous, Norwich’s administrative literacy specialist, also addressed the task force — adding that time demands are a challenge. “We need more time for collaboration among teachers,” she said. Bourdoulous described CSSS implementation as a long and bumpy road. “We know we have a lot to do.”

Both Norwich school officials commended teachers for their hard work. Bourdoulous said, “The standards have created a staircase of complexity.”

Stefon acknowledged, “We learned a lesson about pacing at the beginning of year. We moved too quickly and had to pull back.”

In introducing the Norwich administrators, task force co-chair Nate Quesnel referenced the districts that have been asked to present to the panel. “We are not talking about exemplars, we are talking about works in action,” he said.

Stefon said that the district has five family liaisons who are reaching out to families about the CCSS.

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