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Martin County School District begins new chapter of English Language Arts education

Common Core being replaced by B.E.S.T. Standards across the state
A Port Salerno Elementary School classroom, Oct. 2021.jpg
Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 18:19:30-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — As Florida schools close the book on Common Core standards, the Martin County School District is beginning a new chapter with its English and Language Arts curriculum.

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A teacher reading to students and kids listening intently and answering questions may look like an average first grade class.

But what happens next inside one Port Salerno Elementary School classroom sets it apart.

"She reads that book. But the work they are going to do after that read aloud is they are going to be comparing and contrasting two different books. And they’ll be talking about what are the struggles the characters face," said Courtney Beard, the Martin County School District's K-5 ELA Program specialist.

And that advanced work happening in classrooms across the school district is all part of the new English Language Arts curriculum that Martin County adopted this year.

"We had to make a big decision. We could have adopted kindergarten through second grade a new curriculum, reading and writing B.E.S.T. Standards, but we decided to go big and go K through 12," Beard said

It's part of the new requirements from the state as it transitions away from Common Core and into the B.E.S.T. Standards.

School districts needed to adapt to new English standards for kindergarten through second grade. But Martin County wanted to go a step beyond.

"We wanted that consistency that this curriculum was designed with the B.E.S.T. standards," Beard said. "We are ensuring our kids are taking on those standards and benchmarks so that when they do that assessment, they are prepared."

The change means new textbooks and new styles of teaching and learning. But Beard said the move is paying off.

"It was the spark we needed, our students need, to build that background knowledge," Beard said. "We’re finding the high expectations of this curriculum, the students have risen to the occasion and taking in the information like sponges. And you wouldn’t even know they missed a beat or a year and that’s been really great to see."

Parents can log onto the platform to see what their kids are learning and how they are doing.

Next year, school districts will need to adopt the new math standards that will go into place. For more information about Florida's new B.E.S.T. Standards, click here.