In March 2013, Pascagoula School District Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich met with Biloxi Superintendent Arthur McMillan and Gulfport Superintendent Glen East to discuss the formation of a Mississippi Common Core LinkedIn Group. The website would be a one-stop, 21st century professional learning community to help improve understanding of Common Core State Standards. It also would give Mississippi teachers an online forum to connect, network, discuss and brainstorm ideas for teaching standards and overcoming challenges.
The mindset of the three superintendents was not to compete against one another, but to help one another by giving teachers every opportunity to master new standards and ultimately provide all Mississippi students with the skills necessary to compete in a global society.
The superintendents along with their curriculum specialists and technology departments met to work out the logistics of managing the professional learning community, which would be open to educators and parents free of charge across Mississippi. The Pascagoula School District agreed to manage the site, with Eva Harvell, district technology integration specialist, overseeing the project. Since its inception in April 2013, more than 1,900 Mississippi educators have signed up for membership in the LinkedIn Group, and that number is growing daily.
The group’s primary goal was to give every school district, teacher, parent and student access to the best opportunities to overcome challenges of the new Common Core frameworks. Members of the group also have access to the Mississippi Common Core Collaboration website. Regardless of the financial situation of a district, any teacher with Internet has access to the same resources as any other teacher in Mississippi.
Educators are not the only ones benefiting from the website. Parents also have access to the website and can download materials for all grade levels. Partners also created grade-level placemats with examples of language arts questions and math problems that should be mastered. Placemats are a user-friendly way for parents to work with children to reinforce concepts being taught in classrooms.
Eva Harvell, Pascagoula School District's technology integration specialist