New school year, new way of learning

Published 10:03 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chocowinity Primary School Assistant Principal Spencer Pake and principal fellow intern Kelly Makepeace are among those on hand to welcome students traveling to CPS by bus on the first day of the new school year. (Submitted Photo/Beaufort County Schools)

This week an army of students marched into their first day of school for the 2012-2013 school year, loaded with spiffy, new book bags, dressed in (dress-code color approved) pants so new they still had the creases.  They headed off to new classrooms and a new way of learning with the introduction of Common Core, a more interactive teaching model adopted by the state.
On day two of the new year, enrollment stood at 6,915 students, kindergarten through grade 12, in the Beaufort County Schools. That number reflects 191 more students than were enrolled on day two of last year.
The general consensus in the Beaufort County Schools’ office is that the new academic year has had a smooth start and, overall, has gone well with only a few hitches in transportation, according to Sarah Hodges, public information officer for Beaufort County Schools.
“As with every year, some incidents of bus pick-up issues (occur) early on, but they seem to be fewer than many years and working themselves out quickly,” Hodges said.
While there have been 25-cent increases in lunch prices for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, it’s a changed learning environment that will likely have the most impact on students, and teachers, throughout the year, according to Hodges.
The Common Core Curriculum, new standards put in place this year, shifts gears, aiming for more interaction between teachers and students, leading to more flexible, open-ended and conversational teaching, and learning, according to Glenda Moore, Beaufort County Schools’ grades K-5 curriculum coordinator.
Earlier in the year, Moore explained that the new focus is on teaching students to think — ramping up comprehension and understanding of the use of language for the younger students, while the older kids will be applying that skill to poetry, nonfiction, fiction, oral compositions and more, all revolving around common scholastic themes.
While the outward trappings (bags, clothes, binders) are proof it’s back-to-school week in Beaufort County, it’s Common Core that puts the “new” in new school year.