Inspiring Educator Helps Raise Student Achievement by Embracing the Common Core

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 -- Jamie Candee

Jamie Candee, SVP Sales and Marketing at Edmentum, continues her series on real-world challenges in the classroom.

Nestled in Upstate New York, the Jefferson – Lewis BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) consortium is one of 38 BOCES in New York State. BOCES function as an extension of local school districts and provide high quality services to students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community. For almost 10 years, Jefferson- Lewis BOCES has partnered with Edmentum to increase student achievement and prepare students for their next step in college and career.

Last fall while attending EdTech, Edmentum’s Education Technology Conference, I had the opportunity to listen to a dynamic presentation from Alicia Henry, a Network Team Specialist at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES. Henry shared her expertise on the Common Core and best practices for designing standards and producing Common Core outcomes.  Henry and her team support 14 districts within the BOCES consortium by preparing students and teachers for their biggest challenge yet – the Common Core State Standards.  “I think this is the biggest game changer that I’ve seen since I’ve been in education, which is a long time, but I think it’s really going to help,” said Henry. 

Jefferson- Lewis BOCES is comprised of a large military population because Fort Drum military base is located in the heart of Watertown. This transient environment can make it difficult for students to adjust and to keep up when they are continuously coming and going from different states and areas. Alicia Henry explains, “Your class list could be one thing in October, and you could have a completely different class in March.”

With this in mind, Jefferson- Lewis BOCES began their search for a solution that would help increase student achievement within their consortium.  The consortium sought to implement a program that was flexible enough to meet the needs of their transient environment, proven by third party research and studies, and aligned to state and Common Core state standards. 

Plato Courseware and Edmentum™ Assessments were introduced to Jefferson-Lewis BOCES as an online learning solution to help meet their needs.  Both Plato Courseware and Edmentum Assessments can be used simultaneously or independently to serve a variety of needs for students and educators.  The flexibility of Plato Courseware allows Jefferson – Lewis BOCES students to move at their own pace and to build instruction based on where they are academically at any given time which is especially helpful in their transient environment.  Edmentum Assessments, in particular, the New York Test Pack and Exam Intervention, and most recently Edmentum’s diagnostic assessment solution, Accucess, have helped BOCES educators better understand each student’s unique need so they can more effectively guide instruction. 

Henry praises Edmentum for keeping up with what the Common Core is demanding and for aligning our courses and assessments to meet these new standards. As the Common Core brings new expectations to students, it also poses a challenge for teachers. Henry adds, “Teachers are going back to school too.  If we want our students to be ready for 21st century learning, we as adults need to prepare ourselves in a new way and think about things differently.”

With the help of Edmentum and dedication from educators, the future looks bright for Jefferson- Lewis BOCES. “The promise of the Common Core is to make sure that our kids really are able to not only be college and career ready but to actually compete in a global economy and be as good as our neighboring countries,” says Henry.

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