Southern Arkansas University hosted more than 110 public school teachers, administrators, and district leaders for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Summit on February 4, 2014.
“This was a major event that addressed key educational challenges impacting both public schools and higher education,” said Dr. Roger Guevara, director of the Educational Renewal Zone at SAU. “We brought in the best people in the state to share the very latest in the PARCC assessment and the foundation on how we align the curriculum with the assessment.”
The PARCC is a consortium of 18 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.
Tommy Coy from the Arkansas Department of Education and Dr. Linda Griffith from the University of Central Arkansas were the morning keynote speakers for the Summit. They shared with the attendees the latest news from the state about the upcoming initial PARCC field testing.
“Strategies were shared, including technology tools that could help teacher preparation, professional development and reporting assessments,” said Dr. Khalil Dajani, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at SAU.
Following the morning keynote speeches, the Summit included six breakout informative sessions and an expert panel discussion. All were geared toward the improvement of instructional delivery and student learning expectations relating to the implementation and adoption of PARCC tools for the Common Core State Standards.
“What happened at the Summit are the first steps in achieving an appropriate response to the herculean challenge of our times, which is education. The crisis of today is how to get our kids better educated, and that’s going to be a complex web of policy, curriculum, and education. This Summit provided a tremendous venue to share invaluable information all the way down to the local level,” said Guevara.
Guevara facilitated the expert panel discussion, which provided the attendees an opportunity to ask questions about the PARCC directly to key leaders in education.
Noted presenters for the informative sessions represented areas from across the region, and included Guevara; Debbie Propps of the Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative in Hope; Susan Johnson, SAU STEM science specialist; Dr. Deborah Kincaid of the SAU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; Dr. Scott White, director of the SAU STEM Center; Leah Stinnett of the South Central Service Cooperative in Camden; Christa Brummett of the SAU Department of Biology; Denise Merritt, SAU STEM math specialist; Angela Murphy of the Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative; and Bobby Hart, superintendent of the Hope School District.
In collaboration with state representatives, the SAU Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, SAU Education Renewal Zone, and the SAU STEM Center hosted this regional Summit. SAU President Dr. David Rankin opened the Summit by greeting the regional educators and welcoming the state representatives.
The SAU Educational Renewal Zone already has plans to host the 2015 Next Generation Science Standards Summit on February 10, 2015, at the SAU Reynolds Center.
More information about the PARCC can be found on the PARCC website. For more information about the SAU PARCC Summit, contact Dr. Khalil Dajani at KhalilDajani@SAUmag.edu or Dr. Roger Guevara at RogerGuevara@SAUmag.edu.