Mattituck Cutchogue School District

‘Common core standards’ force Mattituck teachers to adjust

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Mattituck superintendent James McKenna.

Mattituck teachers are busy integrating state “common core standards” for English and math into their everyday teaching practices.

Superintendent Jim McKenna, elementary school principal Anne Smith and high school principal Shawn Petretti outlined the new approach at the school board’s Jan. 19 meeting.

The new standards, they said, are designed to ensure that students leave high school with the skills they need to succeed in college and careers.

Mr. McKenna said the standards for English would be applied to help students develop an in-depth understanding of the texts they are reading. In math, the goal is to help students put the problems they’re asked to solve in context. Ms. Smith said students in the lower grades would work with math problems that involve pictures, numbers and words.

Mr. McKenna said the standards would include interpretive questions, such as who the Founding Fathers were talking about when they wrote the words “We the People.”

“Which ‘We the People?’ ” he said. “Women? Males without property? Slaves? People then couldn’t have envisioned a woman and a descendant of a slave on the Supreme Court.”

Mr. Petretti said the school is beginning to align its curriculum with the common core standards this year.

“In reality, we don’t want teachers teaching to the test,” he said, adding that the standards give teachers guidelines for developing more thought-provoking tests.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the district accepted donations from the Mattituck-Cutchogue PTA and the Friends of Music for the second year of the school’s Arthur Murray physical education dance program.

The district also accepted donations from the Southold Town Youth Bureau and the Parent Teacher Student Association for “Ryan’s Story,” a presentation about bullying, cyber-bullying and suicide that will be held Monday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

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