Project director talks about curriculum standards
With the upcoming requirement to implement the Common Core standards in schools, YUHSD Ready Now Yuma project director Laura Campbell said that the Cambridge curriculum they adopted in 2011 is already aligned to the national standards.
“We are ahead of the curve in terms of Common Core implementation,” she said.
Katy Cavanagh, the Arizona representative for National Center on Education and the Economy, said this is thanks to the forward thinking of YUHSD's administration, school board and community as well as their partnerships with NCEE, the Helios Education Foundation and the Center for Future of Arizona.
“The opportunity to work in a true collaboration is unique,” Cavanagh said. “This is a true collaboration for the good of all Arizona kids and truly Yuma is the proof of concept. They've gone out there and said we will work... so that people will see this is what kids need to be college and career ready... The community has embraced that this... that the core of its economic development, the core of its success in having people be ready to start new businesses and have people live and thrive in Yuma is all focused on this wonderful Ready Now Yuma, and it takes every one of those partners.”
While Arizona was working to advance their Move on When Ready initiative when Yuma began Ready Now Yuma, she said that Yuma was truly a leader in stepping up to the plate to be an example for the rest of the state. Cavanagh said YUHSD embraced the thinking of NCEE's president Marc Tucker, who has been a leader of the standards-driven education reform movement for many years.
“They were able to take that initiative that Arizona as a state was having to be a leader and then to do the day-to-day work,” she said about YUHSD. “Arizona had done pieces but many kids, up to half of our kids, would go to a community college or to a university and (would) not be able to be successful... Yuma has (focused), like a laser beam. Every single student will be college and career ready; they learned about Marc Tucker's work and said, ‘Marc Tucker has created a road map for us, here are the pieces we need.'”
Tucker is the President and CEO of NCEE and is the creator of the foundational belief system, “Excellence for All.” Cavanagh explained that Tucker has been working since the 80s doing research and observations on successful schools and systems across the nation and internationally.
“That work has resulted in, if you will, some foundational beliefs or a set of standards that Yuma and superintendent Toni Badone and the Yuma high school district embraced along with CFA and they're leader Sybil Francis... We know these things to be true, if schools and systems have these things, there will be a much higher success rate for kids for college and career.”