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Specialized Training to Help APS Teachers Prepare for New Common Core Learning Standards

Every classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal will receive two days of critical training to help them hone their skills implementing the new standards that are college and career focused, grounded in evidence and internationally benchmarked

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has announced that as a result of a generous contribution by the GE Foundation, every APS' classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal will receive two days of critical training to allow them to hone their skills implementing the new Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.

The two critical training days -- February 18, 2013, and May 24, 2013 -- will give APS' classroom teachers the tools necessary to help students compete with their peers around the world.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative, led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers, has developed K-12 standards that meet the business community’s expectations in the foundational subjects of math and literacy in all content areas. The new standards are college and career focused, grounded in evidence and internationally benchmarked.

The CCSS set consistent, focused, rigorous academic expectations for all students, and 45 states and the District of Columbia have already adopted them. The CCSS serve as a necessary foundation for making the changes needed to improve student achievement and ensure the United States’ educational and economic pre-eminence.

APS has been focusing on the implementation of the new standards and will continue to support educators through professional development. The standards will provide a consistent framework for what students are expected to learn in grades K-12, replacing a patchwork of state-specific standards that resulted in drastically varying expectations for students across the nation.

"We are pleased to be able to support Atlanta’s teachers in their work to provide the best possible education to children throughout the school district," Bob Corcoran, president of the GE Foundation, said in an announcement release.

GE Vice Chairman John Rice joined Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. for the announcement Wednesday afternoon in front of a host of APS students and teachers along with city and school district officials.

"As we embark upon full implementation of the Common Core standards, it is imperative that all teachers receive superb professional development in order to effectively facilitate 21st century instruction," Tamika Ball, 2012-13 APS districtwide teacher of the year, said in the release.

Financial support for the Common Core training will be funded through an existing grant from the GE Foundation. In October of 2007, the GE Foundation awarded to Atlanta Public Schools a Developing Futures in Education grant of $22 million, the largest private grant in the school district’s history.

"Our students are served by more than 3,000 teachers," said Superintendent Davis in the release. He continued, "Multiply that by two days of paid training and the average teacher compensation in our system. Everything adds up to a considerable and meaningful investment in Atlanta Public Schools when we need it most. We are deeply and sincerely grateful for GE’s gift."

The GE Foundation grant is intended to support a comprehensive effort to improve student learning in core subjects, such as math, science and literacy; to close achievement gaps; and to encourage more students to attend college. The grant targets curriculum development; systemic change across the entire school district; and school, business and community collaboration.

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