Fariña outlines plan to ease Common Core anxiety
Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña said she can ease concerns about the Common Core curriculum, and about school policy in general, by showing principals and parents what it looks like in practice.
Speaking to the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council, a group of P.T.A. presidents from each district, Fariña said she plans to pick twenty middle schools after visiting at least two middle schools a week for the next few months, then invite principals from around the city to visit those schools and learn from their success.
"The best teaching comes from seeing it in practice," Fariña said.
It's a model Fariña honed during her time as principal of P.S. 6, when she visited each classroom daily and encouraged teachers to share notes and lessons, and as superintendent of District 15, when she created several small middle schools.
"We will be doing choosing of schools that we think are model schools," she said, referring to the Bloomberg administration's letter-grade school progress reports, which Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to do away with. "And model doesn't mean they got an 'A' on their report cards. I'm not going to explain that but you can kind of figure it out if you've heard me talk the last few years."
Fariña also informed the council about her plans to establish a book-of-the-month club for principals, to hold a day-long parent conference in the spring with workshops about how to help struggling students and which television shows are best for young children, to meet with the heads of all the city's major museums to facilitate parent and student visits, and to send out monthly newsletters to parents and hold monthly meetings on parent engagement.
She told reporters that a renewed focus on professional development will help ease some of the anxiety surrounding the new Common Core standards.
"I don't think people really understood the basic premise," she said. "Right now a lot of schools are kind of inventing it from scratch and they don't have to. We can give them help and they can adapt it. That's one of my jobs."