Germantown School District continues "long haul" development of standards

Aug. 15, 2014

Germantown — It is going to take time for the Germantown School Board to develop the Germantown Model of Standards for Academic Achievement.

The tone of conversation at the Aug. 11 meeting was an indicator that these standards are something the district wants to not only do, but they want to do well.

"We are going back to square one, trying to figure out from the beginning what we're going to do and how we're going to create our standards moving forward so there are a lot of different things we're looking at," said board member Brian Medved, who chairs an ad hoc Standards Development committee. "We understand it's going to be a long process — there are a lot of things we have to work through — (but) we want to lay the groundwork and build our foundation on strong footing because we really want to do this right."

And for good reason, not only for the sake of the betterment of student learning as Superintendent Jeff Holmes said, but also because they have faced some scrutiny from residents on the matter. The board decided in December to divert from the Common Core Standards, which were adopted by the state in 2010. In doing so, the board became the first district in the state to unanimously agree to formally choose to create its own version of Common Core State Standards.

"One of the things I believe we heard coming out of that is that we certainly as a district need to have a global understanding of what empowers and inspires all students," Holmes said. "I clearly heard from board members in regard to how the standards that are currently used to assess kids' learning in the manner it's done is probably not in the best interest of Germantown and that we do have a lot of work ahead of us but I do believe it's going to be worthwhile and the end product when we get there is going to be in the best interest of our students and our families."

"I think the question we kept trying to go back to is the question of why?" said Medved. "Why are we doing what we're doing? We can explain the how and we know what a good standard looks like but we want to be able to explain why we're doing what we're doing and moving forward I think that's going to be the broader question."

The mission statement and purpose of the district are among the reasons Medved cited for motivators behind the development of new standards, as it pertains to teachers, students and parents alike.

"Why are they here and do our students really understand why they're learning what they're learning," Medved explained. "I think we need to be able to articulate that to our students and our parents and our community, and I think that's going to be a big part of what we're trying to come up with."

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