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Valley View adds online teaching aid to keep up with Common Core standards

BOLINGBROOK – As part of an ongoing effort to implement new state and national Common Core standards, Valley View School District recently introduced an online program to assist teachers and administrators.

During a June 24 meeting, the Valley View Board of Education unanimously approved the purchase of Teachscape Systems – a web-based application that caters to teachers and staff and features online professional learning, tools for teacher evaluation and services to improve teaching practices.

Valley View Assistant Superintendent Rachel Kinder addressed the board, explaining Teachscape is a comprehensive and cost-effective tool.

“Feedback provided by teachers indicates a need for job-embedded professional development that blends a more personalized online platform with the current face-to-face professional development model being used by the district,” Kinder said.

According to a Valley View survey, 83 percent of teachers believe a blended approach to professional development – using technology and face-to-face training – would be beneficial. Also, 77 percent of teachers surveyed found a need for more job-embedded professional development, Kinder said.

In May, Valley View Board of Education was leaning toward the Educator Effectiveness System – also called PD 360 – but administration concluded that Teachscape is a more cost-effective solution, according to the Valley View Board of Education.

Teachscape is the second initiative that the Valley View board has approved this summer in order to implement the New Illinois State Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core.

In May, the board approved Compass Learning program – an online resource that will assist district high school student in math and English studies.

Illinois adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, joining 44 other states. The Common Core sets new math and English language arts standards, provides across-the-board learning expectations for students, and yields higher, clearer, deeper real-life learning for college and career.

The Common Core standards make it more likely that a student moving from one state to another will face similar content and expectations, and graduates will be better able to collaborate and compete with their peers in the global economy, according to the Illinois Board of Education.

Teachscape will cost Valley View $752,916 over a five-year period, about $60,000 less than the alternative, PD 360.

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