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State Ed commisioner tours schools in St. Lawrence, Franklin counties

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MALONE - New York State Commissioner of Education John King made the North Franklin Educational Center (NFEC) his first stop of several untry schools he visited on Friday.

“I try to visit schools every week throughout the state to hear what’s going on from the board, the parents and the students,” Mr. King said.

He checked on NFEC culinary arts and electrical trades classes to see if these courses followed the new common core curriculum. According to Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Stephen T. Shafer, the new curriculum has been in place for the past 18 months and is applied to math and English language arts (ELA). The common core of these subjects was adopted by the state as part of a national movement, Shafer said.

The new math and ELA standards hone in on the skills that students need to better educate themselves and be prepared for college and their career paths. ve

“This new standard was adopted after seeing where our international competitors were at,” Mr. King said. “We need to have classes where teachers prepare their students adequately for the work force.”

Mr. King also visited Davis Elementary and Franklin Academy in Malone, St. Lawrence Central and Clarkson University on Friday.

“One significant example of this change is students will be reading more non-fiction books,” Mr. Shafer said. “This will help them to do technical reading that is required for a college career and the workforce.”

Deputy Superintendent of NFEC Leslie LaRose said this way students will have a better understanding of what they are learning, especially when it comes to auto and technological manuals and wiring diagrams. There is also an emphasis on technical writing, she added.

“The CTE (Career Technology Education) blends itself well with the curriculum,” Ms. LaRose said. “The students are building trade skills and being able to implement them in the work force.”

“The electrical trade is a great example,” Mr. Shafer said. “Electricians do a lot of math for their career and for this class they have to read technical material.”

The ELA part of the curriculum is shown in the portfolios they have to create at the beginning of their junior year through the end of their senior year.

Culinary arts teacher Jim Lalonde said his students do professional journaling that is related to their culinary work once per week, as do all of the classes. This counts for the ELA portion of the curriculum.

“They also read a novel related to their profession,” Mr. Lalonde said. “For the math part, we figure out food cost percentage and rates as well as measuring to prepare recipes.”

For the most part the core curriculum has stayed the same, but now there must be an increase in math and ELA, according to Mr. LaRose.

Mr. Shafer said 48 out of 50 states have adopted the common core curriculum.

Mr. King also checked on the implemation of the new evaluation system for principals and teachers, the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR).

“This new evaluation system provides support for professional development,” he said. “And it gives an idea to what principals should be looking for during these evaluations.”

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