International Reading Association members Leslie Montgomery and Margot Holmes Smith appeared on NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, September 24, to discuss how their school is implementing Common Core State Standards programs.
NBC producers interviewed Montgomery, a fifth-grade teacher, and Smith, an intervention teacher, on Wednesday, August 22, at J. B. Atkinson Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. The NBC crew filmed Montgomery’s class on Thursday, August 23.
“It was an interesting experience speaking about standards that I have only taught for a year,” Montgomery says. “Initially, like most teachers, I felt overwhelmed by the change because we were no longer being told what specifically to teach. Now we were only being told what the end goal was for the student. Like all teachers, I just want to do my job well and provide my students with tools to grow into successful, contributing citizens.”
“The Common Core State Standards are what a child needs in order to be ‘college ready,’” she continues. “To meet these goals, instruction will have to be designed to raise each individual child to this end goal. In order to make that happen, teachers will have to increase collaboration, not just horizontally but vertically. Each year, you will see the footsteps of the teacher that came before you and your footsteps will follow that child. It is an exciting shift away from test preparation toward true real world application.”
Smith adds, “There are several great aspects of the new Common Core State Standards. For example, the standards include progressions from year to year. This will help to strengthen the collaboration between teachers at various grade levels. The standards are also more rigorous and go into more depth in reading and math. In the past, reading and math standards were taught in isolation and did not do a good job of building upon one another. The CCSS are more fluid and can be taught at the same time.”
Montgomery and Smith contributed to an article entitled “The Common Core: Insights Into the K-5 Standards” by IRA President-Elect Maureen McLaughlin and past IRA Board Member Brenda J. Overturf which will be published in the October issue of The Reading Teacher journal. They also assisted with McLaughlin and Overturf’s book The Common Core: Teaching K-5 Students to Meet Reading Standards which comes out later this fall.
In addition to their IRA work, Montgomery and Smith are co-authors for Overturf’s upcoming book Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary (Stenhouse, January 2013).
View the segment on the NBC Nightly News website.