California Educator

August 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 73

Y O U R O P I N I O N S A N D L E T T E R S A R E W E L C O M E ! There is a 250-word limit, and all letters will be edited. If you send photos or other materials, identifications and permissions are required. Letters must include your name along with your address, daytime telephone number or email address. Email Common Core and new teaching? We are being told that we are going to learn "new and better ways to teach" under Common Core. New and better ways to teach? What have some of you been doing for your career? I don't know about you, but I know how to teach, I'm good at it, and my students learn. If, as the article states (May), you are accepting the fact that scores will drop, and expect scores to drop, the issue is either poor teaching or a terrible test. And personally, I know it's not the former. DAVID BLAIR Point Arena High School Teachers Association Editor's Note: CTA does not support the pre- scriptive methodology of telling teachers what and how they should teach. CTA does support the notion of teachers adding skills and tech- niques to their toolbox for implementing the Common Core State Standards. Common Core history I thought that both Patti Carpenter and Kim Cosmas (May Point/Counterpoint) were very much on target regarding whether the implementation of the Common Core State Standards is a good thing for teaching and learning. Very mobile students in our society should benefit from more uniform interstate standards. At the same time, Cosmas outlined accurately the CCSS's troublesome evolution. It took much investigation on my part before I was able to draft "The Eighty-five Percent Solution?" relating how the CCSS were actu- ally created. I would also highly recommend Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System, to learn, as her subtitle notes, how testing and choice are (still) undermining education. BILL YOUNGLOVE California Faculty Association, CSU Long Beach feedback Testing trauma Contrary to your May article, AB 484 did not eliminate STAR testing for all subjects. In my science classes, we are taking the STAR test for the foreseeable future. Despite the fact that science teachers are expected to implement Common Core and the recently adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), we must keep our vision split and continue to also focus on outdated standards. Common Core and NGSS bring exciting changes to science education. It defies imagination why a subject with major changes to our teaching strategies (Common Core) and content (NGSS) would be saddled with also teaching the past. KELLY RYAN San Ramon Valley Education Association Editor's Note: You are correct that AB 484 did not entirely eliminate components of STAR testing. NGSS science content assessment may not be available for another four years. AB 484 ushered in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress to tran- sition from the CSTs to the Smarter Balanced Assessments. While there are other state and federal mandates that the legislation did not address, California needed to keep certain CST tests such as science in order to meet compliance requirements under ESEA for grades 5, 8 and 10. While new assessments for NGSS are being developed, you are going to be in a double bind. You will be teaching the content from the 1997 standards in preparation for the CST test in science and also implementing components of the NGSS. More Apps? Thank you for the "6 must-know apps" in Tech Tips (May). Are there apps for high school level? IRMA CANO Vista Teachers Association Editor's Note: Yes, there are, and we'll feature them in upcoming magazines. Have any to share? Time to toot our horn! The May article "Bring it on!" was an interesting insight into bringing cheerleading into the athletics realm and under the auspices of the California Inter- scholastic Federation. Similarly, consideration of marching band, winter percussion and guard as either a sport or eligible for physical education credits is a continuing topic in our district. In our groups, no one is turned away. We become a family at school. Beginners are welcomed and encouraged. At band camp, akin to sports summer conditioning, students spend six hours a day learning basic fundamentals, primarily marching and flag work. During competition season, practic- es are held in two- to four-hour blocks. Conditioning includes stretching exercises, calisthenics, and jogging as a group in pairs and in step, much like the military. Musicians carry heavy instruments, some up to 40 pounds. Playing, spinning and catching flags or other equipment while marching expends vast amounts of energy. It's a cardio exercise that matches many sports, save possibly soccer. Nutrition, hydration, proper technique and injury avoidance are constant topics. However, while cheerleading may involve competition, competition is our primary function. Playing pep music for games is important for school spirit, yet it's secondary to competing. We compete up to five times each season, fall and winter. The money factor mentioned in the article affects us, too, as an inner-city district. Let's continue to move this discussion for cheerleading, marching band and guard forward, involving both CIF and CDE, for clarity and uniformity within the state! ROBIN WILMER Sacramento City Teachers Association Feature Cheer has changed For decades, cheerleaders were mostly pretty, popular pep leaders. But over the years, cheerleading has become physically demanding, requiring strength, skill, and the ability to perform aerial and tumbling feats. Does cheerleading get the respect it deserves? Noooo, fumes Kristine Durfee, Red Bluff High School cheer coach. "People don't realize how much hard work is required or how strong you have to be. It's not just about being coordinated and looking nice. You have to lift people up in the air, throw them and catch them. There's no other sport that requires that. You throw and catch them while in transition to your next formation, so it's not just catch and drop. You have to be skilled and talented to do that." Like most teams, Durfee's cheerleaders are constantly fundraising to pay for uniforms, tumbling mats, travel and other expenses. They start practicing in summer and drill after school and on weekends. They can't afford to enter competitions, although Durfee thinks they are certainly good enough to compete. As cheerleading has become more competitive and focused on "stunts," safety has become more of an issue, she says. Coaches, once merely "advisers," are now certified through the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA), an organization dedicated to cheerleading safety and education of coaches through certi- fication programs, offered online and at coaching conventions. Previous experience as a cheerleader is helpful for coaching, but not a requirement. Time to treat cheerleading like a real sport? Bring it on! By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin NFL cheerleaders recently accused the Oakland Raiders of paying them less than minimum wage and not paying for their expenses. The two cheerleaders who filed the class-action lawsuit complained to the media that cheerleaders are shown little respect. Some cheerleading coaches think that what's happening at the professional level can be traced to high school practices. They say it's time for schools to give cheerleaders the respect they deserve — and time to treat cheerleading like a real sport. So has the time come to fight, fight, FIGHT? Some CTA members, in the words of the popular cheer movie, say yes, bring it on! P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y S C O T T B U S C H M A N W H E N I T C O M E S to boosting the confidence of students with special needs, the Sparkles program at Westlake High School gives everyone something to cheer about. Twice weekly, the school's varsity cheerleaders help students with disabilities practice cheers, under the super vision of special education teachers Lauren Iezza and Kacey Kalsman, Unified Associ- ation of Conejo Teachers. Students with special needs on the Sparkles team have their own uniforms and recently performed at their first school rally to enthusi- astic applause. The Sparkles program brings joy and a sense of community to her students, says Iezza. "The kids walk by other students in the hallways high-fiving now. My students and the cheerleaders are learning and growing from each other." "Our kids feel like celebrities now," adds Kalsman. The varsity cheerleaders say they benefit just as much as the students they coach. "It has taught me patience," says Hannah Kline- dinst. "Nothing comes easy for these students." "You can be having the worst day, but when you come to Sparkles practice, it changes you to having a 100 percent positive attitude," says Jessica Moss. Shema Deihimi, a Sparkles cheerleader and a student with special needs, says the best part has been making so many new friends. "It makes me feel happy," she says. "It makes me feel like I'm part of the school and that I'm involved in everything. And I love the uniform. I've wanted to be a cheerleader since kindergarten. I never thought I would be. And now I am." Sparkles team allows everyone chance to shine People don't realize how much hard work is required or how strong cheerleaders have to be, says Kristine Durfee in Red Bluff, shown below with Megan DiDio, Ashley Samson, Kacy Samson, Chase Feusi and Kierstin Exum. They train hard, they bring pride to their schools, they win competitions. Cheerleaders are athletes and cheerleading is a sport, say CTA members. Lauren Iezza 50 51 M AY 2 0 1 4 M AY 2 0 1 4 3 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 1

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - August 2014