These are the activities that children will always remember. These experiences shape what kind of learners our children become.

Dr. Laura Kingsley, Executive Director of Elementary Schools

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Workshop connects EdExplore partners to classroom changes

Kevin E. Baird, speaker, consultant and chairman of the Center for College an Career Readiness, gave his all to bring Florida Standards to life for some 80 EdExplore community partners and Sarasota County Schools educators during a workshop on July 29.

He was on his knees, dashing around the room, joining conversations, continually challenging the group to understand – this is a C-change for students and teachers. And it’s a good one for our country’s future.

He was enthusiastic about the EdExplore partnership, which already “extends” the classroom experience – a key to bringing standards to life. So many communities will need to build the connective tissue that Sarasota already developed through EdExplore, an online platform that connects curriculum-aligned community arts, science and cultural assets and experiences to teachers and students.

Our original goal for EdExplore was to take already “good” classroom-community connections to “great” — the evening’s message — the cheese just got moved and “great” has been redefined! Baird gave examples, used illustrative video – asked the audience to come up with their own applications. We learned the word “lexile” (look it up, independent learners).

Two striking shifts were especially important for the group – 5th grade expectations are the new 3rd grade, 8th grade, the new 5th grade standards and it rolls up. EdExplore providers will need to shift materials to match the grade-level standards.

The second shift is more non-fiction at elementary level. Baird explained that there is a dearth of non-fiction material at the elementary level. The organizations have real-world non-fiction to share through explorations and directly with teachers.

Baird probed the group. How much do principals know about what you offer? He will deliver the same workshop to all principals. Our shared learning opens opportunities for new conversations with school leaders. Let’s do this soon while we are clarifying and understanding Baird’s materials.

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