DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -With all the conversation among concerned parents surrounding the new Oklahoma academic standards approved this week, teachers in Duncan are reassuring them that their children won't be overwhelmed.
Teachers at Plato Elementary say they've been meeting with members of the Oklahoma Board of Education throughout the entire process, which has allowed them a sneak peek at what the new standards in English and math will look like, and have already begun including some of them in their teaching this year.
Teachers say their students' parents were concerned their children would not be prepared when it came time for them to move on to the next grade. So, they're doing their best to assure them that the new curriculum is a step in the right direction.
"Students that go through this process will be able to communicate with groups better. They'll be able to work in groups better. They'll be able to write their thoughts down and communicate their thinking more effectively," said Jamie Rowell, a first grade teacher at Plato Elementary.
Rowell says the curriculum the district uses now is outdated. She says the old standards for her first grade class were vague when it came to reading; the new standards are not.
"The new standards will be very specific about what students need to learn in phonics to be better readers. So, we will be expecting them to read slightly more than their current work load," Rowell said.
Rowell says this statewide set of standards will go a long way in making sure children will be on the same academic track as their classmates, even if they change schools.
"Kids don't stay in one place. They move from city to city. They have to be able to know that what they're expected to do in one city is what they're expected to do in another city," Rowell explained.
Rowell says she just want what's best for all students throughout the district and offers these words to concerned parents about the future of their children's education.
"We're preparing Oklahoma students to be employees, potentially in the state of Oklahoma. No one knows better what an Oklahoman needs better than an Oklahoman," Rowell said.
The Oklahoma Legislature reviewed the standards this week, and they will be formally implemented at the start of the next school year.