Nearly 1,400 educators from Los Angeles Unified School District and Los Angeles public charter schools went back to the classroom at California State University, Dominguez Hills, this time as pupils, as it were, of the Launch LA: Common Core conference, where they had the opportunity to prepare for the implementation of the new national Common Core State Standards (CCSS) of what students are expected to learn.
An equal number of teachers were on the waiting list to attend the Aug. 24 conference, which was organized by Teach Plus, a national nonprofit focused on improving educational access and outcomes for all students, and sponsored in partnership with LAUSD and CSU Dominguez Hills. Fittingly, the host campus awards nearly 400 teaching credentials and 200 master’s degrees in education annually and produces the largest number of math and science teachers of any of the 23 campuses in the CSU system.
“When [the featured speakers] started to state that a lot of educators come from [CSU Dominguez Hills], I was surprised at that. … I thought that was good information to give us,” commented conference participant Angie Sims, who is a resource specialist for LAUSD. “Why here? That didn’t resonate with me … until the [university] president [Willie J. Hagan] started talking about some of the accomplishments.”
University President Willie J. Hagan, who gave welcoming remarks at the conference, made a connection with the conference goers—who filled to capacity the Loker Student Union Ballroom— as he shared his respect for teachers and anecdotes on behalf of his wife who is a public high school teacher.
“People need to understand, teachers are at the tip of the spear implementing any policy,” Hagan relayed at his wife’s urging.
The event’s keynote speaker, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, indicated that the school district, the nation’s second largest with 40,000 teachers, has been a pioneer in the transition to CCSS since its adoption in California in 2010, leading the way to fundamentally change K-12 curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment system.
“This is a remarkable time…” Deasy asserted. “It is fairly certain that at no other point in our nation’s history, have we asked three things of such magnitude to happen at the same time.”
As part of the preparation effort, more than 60 sessions presented by teachers from LAUSD and public charter schools, and the university covered topics on Common Core reading and vocabulary standards, technology in the classroom, and the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium assessments, to name a few.
For more information, visit ccss.lausd.net.