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Two Stonington Teachers Make 'Connecticut Dream Team'

The teachers will participate in a Common Core "TeachFest" and then return to their districts to pass on the knowledge to their peers.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
Stonington has two teachers joining the "Connecticut Dream Team" — a group of 97 teachers charged with mastering an educational approach that aligns with Common Core.

Representing Stonington are Tina Eisenbeis, a sixth grade teacher and math teacher leader (grades 5-6) at Pawcatuck Middle School, and Marika Heughins, fifth grade teacher at Pawcatuck Middle School.

The state Department of Education on Wednesday announced the Dream Team. A full list of the 97 teachers from 86 school districts around the state can be found here.

Getting on the team was competitive. According to a news release from the Department of Education, teachers "were chosen through a competitive statewide application on the basis of their content knowledge, grit, and understanding of the Common Core State Standards. Each educator demonstrated the commitment and ability to 'scale their impact' beyond their classroom."

TeachFest Connecticut learning session

Each of the teachers on the "Connecticut Dream Team" will participate in "TeachFest Connecticut," which the news release describes as "an intensive professional learning session on the Common Core State Standards, where they will develop high-quality resources to be shared with fellow teachers." 

The conference runs from April 25 to April 27 in Hartford.

The TeachFest conference will be led by LearnZillion, a "provider of digital curriculum and professional development for the Common Core" and which developed an "innovative model" for teaching aligned with Common Core standards, according to the news release.

Then the teachers spread the word

"Following TeachFest, the Connecticut Dream Team members will return to their 86 elementary, middle and high schools to continue working with peers and content coaches in facilitated online professional learning communities (PLCs)," according to the news release.

"During this process, the Dream Team members will translate their proven teaching methods and classroom expertise into high-quality Common Core resources for use by teachers in Connecticut and will be available on CTCoreStandards.org," the announcement said. "These resources will also be made available to teachers across the country, through a free Common Core resource library."

This summer, Dream Team teachers will serve as "teacher leaders" at a July 29 “Common Core Fest” for hundreds of teachers across the state, according to the announcement.

Other Common Core preparation activities

According to the news release:

"In addition to the LearnZillion experience, the State Department of Education is already sponsoring a series of professional development opportunities for educators across Connecticut: 

  • "Since the beginning of the school year, school and district leaders have taken part in “communities of practice”— gatherings which focus on implementing the new standards and sharing best practices already in place.
  • "Also, the SDE has convened over 1,500 teachers from 163 districts as Common Core Coaches to develop expertise in the new standards through a series of trainings and webinars.
  • "Common Core training opportunities are also being designed for 600 new teachers, student teachers and their mentors, as well as the faculty of teacher-preparation programs."

JudithAnn April 17, 2014 at 07:09 AM
OMG! The official indoctrination has begun. Will no one speak up for the children?
Lesa April 17, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Indoctrination? In what way?
JudithAnn April 17, 2014 at 10:26 AM
This is another government top-down program, one-size-fits-all solution created without the input of the real stakeholders and experts in the educational or other related fields. Once again, people are being hoodwinked by the "it's for the children" disguise as the socialist try another power grab. The examples of Common Core teaching methods are appalling. The idea of universal standards is so communistic in theory. Whenever you see the word "comprehensive" attached to a government program remember the translation is down with the individual. How can Americans and especially parents approve of something (like Obamacare et. al) before they even know what it is, its history and its consequences. Please do your research.
Kendall Svengalis April 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Dream team? Are you kidding. This is just a clever way of packaging the dumbing down of public education. This top-down attempt to re-make American education is really just a race to the bottom. The standards are poorly designed and had little or no input from teachers or parents on the ground. In many communities--North Stonington, for example the Common Core Standards were adopted wholesale without community input and --voila, called the "curriculum." Buit they are not a curriculum, but a set of standards that require a curriculum to flesh them out. That takes time and effort. Of equal concern is the impact of the Common Core on higher education. Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, has written an axcellent critique of the Common Core that should be read by every parent concerned about their child's education: http://www.nas.org/articles/what_the_common_core_will_do_to_colleges?utm_source=April+2013+Newsletter&utm_campaign=January+2014+NAS+News&utm_medium=email

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