TCOE Wins Prestigious Golden Bell Award

For its work in developing a program to promote, integrate and support 21st Century learning into all areas of education both locally and outside the county, Tulare County Office of Education’s Educational Resource Services (ERS) will receive a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) this month in San Francisco. The prestigious award, now in its 35th year, is being given to ERS for its Common Core Implementation & Support program, along with programs in 60 other districts and county offices of education this year.

“The ERS Common Core Implementation & Support program was an intentional investment in the future of our students,” says Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “The result is the creation of an innovative instructional culture that is getting a lot of attention statewide.”

According to Charlene Stringham, assistant superintendent of Instructional Services, ERS’s Common Core Implementation & Support program provides multi-faceted services to educators. “Our program includes extensive professional development offerings, on-site mentoring partnerships in 57 districts, interdepartmental CCSS collaborative efforts, a wide array of relevant, engaging, CCSS-aligned student events, and a popular CCSS resource website,” she said. “The ERS Common Core Implementation & Support program is directly impacting student learning by providing educators, parents, community members and all stakeholders with exemplary services and resources to promote 21st Century shifts in curriculum, instruction, assessment and most importantly, student achievement.”

ERS built its Common Core Implementation & Support program in less than four years, beginning with the State Board of Education’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in August 2010. One of the key elements to the program was the development of a comprehensive, multi-topic Common Core State Standards professional development series. Today, the ERS Professional Development Catalog includes over 150 courses, which last year were attended by over 8,000 educators, locally and throughout the region.

The expansion of ERS’s site-based professional development, coaching, and consulting services was another important component of the ERS Common Core Implementation & Support effort. To date, ERS team members are contracted to provide customized support, including instructional planning, model lesson demonstration, and data analysis, in 57 districts and seven programs throughout the region for a total of over 2,500 days, or 14 years, of staff time.

Internally, ERS has worked to guide the alignment of other TCOE Instructional Services and Special Services programs to incorporate 21st Century learning. The program also created the popular Common Core Connect website, which serves as a repository of resources and tools that have been developed or vetted, indexed and catalogued into a searchable database. The site also contains TCOE-developed resources that are freely shared with educators who wish to adopt them to align with their local initiatives. Website analytics reveal that during a recent 30-day time period, 12,480 site pages were viewed by 4,353 visitors, many of whom are from other regions and states.

“Rolling out the Common Core is a daunting task,” said Jacqueline Cardenas, director of curriculum and instruction for Los Nietos School District in Los Angeles County. “If I were to select one high quality website in California that I can turn to for exceptional ‘download and use today’ planning tools and instructional resources for our teachers and administrators, it would be the Common Core Connect on the TCOE website.”

For more information on ERS’s Common Core Implementation & Support program, call Charlene Stringham at 651-3831.

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