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By Patrice Apodaca | February 16, 2013
Newport-Mesa school officials have begun trying to explain how the Common Core State Standards will be implemented beginning in the next school year. It's no easy job, given that they probably aren't entirely sure themselves what the new standards will look like in practice. Even so, district administrators are practically giddy with enthusiasm over the changes, which they believe will usher in more rigor and relevance to the classroom. In a meeting I attended recently, staff members were visibly excited as they attempted to introduce Common Core concepts to a group of parents.
NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | October 27, 2012
The first thing I noticed upon entering Supt. Fred Navarro's office was the frame on the wall containing his two UCLA diplomas next to a picture of the university's iconic Royce Hall. Newport-Mesa Unified School District's new leader immediately received extra likeability points from this former Bruin. On the job since July, Navarro said he's "really enjoying the challenge. It's an amazing district. " The former Costa Mesa High School principal returned at a critical juncture.
NEWS
By Janet Geehr | May 20, 2013
Re. "Apodaca: Common Core may add up to math skills boost we need," (May 12): Patrice Apodaca's enthusiasm for the new Common Core math program, based on her belief that it will improve students' math skills, grabbed my attention. As a former teacher and the parent of three Newport-Mesa students, education is paramount to me. Apodaca inspired me to investigate Common Core; I do not share her optimism. Improving students' math skills is a laudable goal. However, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, Stanford professor James Milgram, refused to sign off on the standards.
NEWS
October 26, 2013
Last weekend one our reporters produced a good story about a Newport Elementary School teacher implementing the state's new Common Core curriculum into her classroom. There has been much debate regarding this approach to teaching, which emphasizes conceptual understanding over old-school memorization. Having something of a preference for the "Three R" technique of our day, we were skeptical of this change at first, but we like what we're hearing about it now. The idea is to guide pupils to understand what they're learning, and what the material means, rather than just teaching them to memorize facts and bubble them in on standardized tests.
NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | May 11, 2013
I worked on a story about Michael Milken many years ago, not long after the infamous junk-bond tycoon's release from prison. During the reporting phase, I observed him fulfilling his court-ordered community service by teaching a math clinic at a middle school in a low-income Los Angeles neighborhood. The clinic was not at all what I had expected. Milken, accompanied by his usual entourage, approached the job with the fervor of a motivational speaker. He knew the kids by name and took them through a series of math games, during which they used techniques they'd been taught to multiply and divide multiple-digit numbers quickly in their heads.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | November 6, 2013
With an increasing number of teachers spending more days outside their classrooms in preparation for Common Core's sweeping new curriculum standards, Newport-Mesa Unified is facing a shortage of substitute teachers to fill the void. Kimberly Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers, expressed teachers' frustration when she addressed the school board during a special meeting last week. Teachers, especially at the elementary school level, take a significant amount of time to prepare lessons in multiple subjects for substitute teachers, she said.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | October 19, 2013
The words "Common Core" don't hold special meaning to students in Terri Clarke's second-grade class at Newport Elementary. Unbeknownst to them, the lessons Clarke is implementing will have a profound effect on the way they are taught for the rest of their time in public schools. Common Core places an emphasis on big-picture, conceptual understanding and collaborative learning with peers, moving away from rote memorization, proponents say. "We're passionate about this curriculum," Clarke said.
NEWS
Hannah Fry | August 28, 2013
Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved a $242 million budget - about $18 million more than last year's spending plan. Deputy Superintendent Paul Reed, the district's chief business official, presented what he called a conservative finalized budget for fiscal 2013-14. Reed assured the board the district is in good shape, despite the changes in funding from the state. "We absorbed the shocks of the recession, due to prudent planning and use of reserves," he said.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | March 18, 2014
Tom Pollitt, founder of the Newport-Mesa Tea Party, has announced his intent to run for the Orange County Board of Education. The 70-year-old Costa Mesa resident is seeking the District 2 seat, held since 2010 by David Boyd, also a Costa Mesa resident. Boyd is serving out his first term on the five-member board and has applied for reelection in the June primary. Pollitt, a small-business man, said his priorities include making sure that education funds go to the classrooms, not the administration, and improving the county's charter school system.
NEWS
By Sandy Asper | April 19, 2013
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District does many things right, but spending money while crying poverty is not one of them. In the next few weeks, we will hear from the district about shortfalls, insufficient funding by the state, the sharing of finances with poor districts and all the dire consequences that are going to befall the district, like the cutting of programs. On the other hand, we will also hear about how smart this district is in conserving our money, and there will be a lot of inordinate number of pats on the back for saving the district in the face of the most draconian financial period in history.
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NEWS
By Hannah Fry | April 11, 2014
The seventh-grade boy looked down at his blank work sheet, unsure how to begin solving the multistep algebraic equation that the teacher had written on the white board. After a moment's hesitation, he began building the equation, X + -2 = -6, with blue and white tiles sitting atop his work sheet to find the mysterious value of X. After manipulating the tiles, he thought he had the answer. However, after a second look he quickly corrected himself, earning a nod of approval from his Costa Mesa Middle School math teacher, Racine Cross.
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NEWS
By Patrice Apodaca | March 29, 2014
It's no secret that significant changes are underway in education. But an easier-to-miss development is that these various paths to change, though often superficially unrelated, are converging on a central principle: Education must increasingly focus on real-world knowledge and skills. This shift from the esoteric to the practical, the ivory tower to the shop floor, is sometimes subtle, in other instances intentionally bold, and it has passionate supporters as well as critics. But in all cases it marks a profound rethinking of the nature and scope of our efforts to prepare students for the future.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | March 18, 2014
Tom Pollitt, founder of the Newport-Mesa Tea Party, has announced his intent to run for the Orange County Board of Education. The 70-year-old Costa Mesa resident is seeking the District 2 seat, held since 2010 by David Boyd, also a Costa Mesa resident. Boyd is serving out his first term on the five-member board and has applied for reelection in the June primary. Pollitt, a small-business man, said his priorities include making sure that education funds go to the classrooms, not the administration, and improving the county's charter school system.
NEWS
January 4, 2014
2014 promises to be an eventful year in education. Big changes are underway in everything from the way students are taught to the funding formula. The progression of technology and emerging social concerns will have a profound impact on learning. The struggle to develop fair methods to assess student and school progress will continue. It's safe to assume that these issues, and the way they are dealt with, will provide us with a mixed bag of successes and failures. But as a new year dawns and hope is in the air, we can at least root for some positive movement in many areas of education.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | November 6, 2013
With an increasing number of teachers spending more days outside their classrooms in preparation for Common Core's sweeping new curriculum standards, Newport-Mesa Unified is facing a shortage of substitute teachers to fill the void. Kimberly Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers, expressed teachers' frustration when she addressed the school board during a special meeting last week. Teachers, especially at the elementary school level, take a significant amount of time to prepare lessons in multiple subjects for substitute teachers, she said.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | October 30, 2013
Newport-Mesa Unified School District teachers and administrators spoke about the successes and struggles associated with implementing the new Common Core State Standards during a special board meeting Tuesday. The district's teachers have been developing course curriculum in math and English-language arts for K-12 classes for the past two years. This year, the district's pilot year, is preparing them to fully launch Common Core lessons in 2014. Now, teachers at the high school level are beginning to look into designing curriculum to adhere to the Common Core standards in science and social studies.
NEWS
October 26, 2013
Last weekend one our reporters produced a good story about a Newport Elementary School teacher implementing the state's new Common Core curriculum into her classroom. There has been much debate regarding this approach to teaching, which emphasizes conceptual understanding over old-school memorization. Having something of a preference for the "Three R" technique of our day, we were skeptical of this change at first, but we like what we're hearing about it now. The idea is to guide pupils to understand what they're learning, and what the material means, rather than just teaching them to memorize facts and bubble them in on standardized tests.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | October 19, 2013
The words "Common Core" don't hold special meaning to students in Terri Clarke's second-grade class at Newport Elementary. Unbeknownst to them, the lessons Clarke is implementing will have a profound effect on the way they are taught for the rest of their time in public schools. Common Core places an emphasis on big-picture, conceptual understanding and collaborative learning with peers, moving away from rote memorization, proponents say. "We're passionate about this curriculum," Clarke said.
NEWS
Hannah Fry | August 28, 2013
Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved a $242 million budget - about $18 million more than last year's spending plan. Deputy Superintendent Paul Reed, the district's chief business official, presented what he called a conservative finalized budget for fiscal 2013-14. Reed assured the board the district is in good shape, despite the changes in funding from the state. "We absorbed the shocks of the recession, due to prudent planning and use of reserves," he said.
NEWS
By Janet Geehr | May 20, 2013
Re. "Apodaca: Common Core may add up to math skills boost we need," (May 12): Patrice Apodaca's enthusiasm for the new Common Core math program, based on her belief that it will improve students' math skills, grabbed my attention. As a former teacher and the parent of three Newport-Mesa students, education is paramount to me. Apodaca inspired me to investigate Common Core; I do not share her optimism. Improving students' math skills is a laudable goal. However, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, Stanford professor James Milgram, refused to sign off on the standards.
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