School system starts curriculum merge

SUWANEE -- Gwinnett County Public Schools is working to implement a set of national benchmarks that detail what students should learn in each grade, an administrator told the school board Thursday.

The Common Core State Standards, developed by a state-led initiative coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, are designed to make sure students throughout the country are ready for college or a career by the time they graduate high school. The Georgia Board of Education adopted the benchmarks in July.

Much of Gwinnett's Academic Knowledge and Skills curriculum aligns with the Common Core standards, Associate Superintendent Dale Robbins said. A preliminary analysis shows some changes will need to be made.

When the Common Core calls for a skill to be introduced earlier than it currently is in Gwinnett, the school system will move that standard, Robbins said. For example, the Common Core standards call for introducing the use of nouns, verbs, interrogatives and prepositions in kindergarten. That's something that is currently done in Gwinnett during first grade.

"We think we can do this with a very smooth transition," Robbins said.

A proposed timeline for implementation shows that teachers will receive training on the updated curriculum during the 2011-12 school year. The new standards will be rolled out the following year, but they won't be fully implemented until the 2014-15 school year.

Robbins said an oversight committee will receive all proposed changes.