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Iowa Core Curriculum

By Staff | Feb 16, 2010

In a continuing discussion on what employment skills students need for success, parents, teachers, and school administrators met Feb. 11, at the Emmetsburg Middle School/High School library. This February meeting was the second in a series of four to discuss the Iowa Core Curriculum and 21st Century Skills.

The Department of Education for the State of Iowa has created a plan called the Iowa Core Curriculum, a statewide effort to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all Iowa students engage in a rigorous and relevant curriculum which addresses essential skills. The Core Curriculum includes the core content areas of literacy (reading and writing), math, science, and social studies, as well 21st Century Skills, developed to help students be successful after leaving school. These 21st Century Skills include employability skills, financial literacy, health literacy, technology literacy, and civic literacy.

“We need your help in narrowing down how we teach 21st Century Skills,” began John Joynt, Emmetsburg Community Schools Superintendent. “We have a deadline of July 1 to get a plan ready to submit. We want it to be a meaningful product.”

Joynt introduced members of the Iowa Team Core: Darca Saxton, Deb Jurrens, Kelly Josephson, Kay Kibbie, Sue Strube, Matt Pugh, Jay Jurrens, and John Joynt.

Deb Jurrens led the group in discussion activities to determine what skills area employers desire to see in their workers.

“An overwhelming number of students leave their educational experience unprepared for the world of work,” said Deb Jurrens. “We are asking you, as people who are in the world of work, what you see as unpreparedness.”

Comments heard in regards to Communication were: “lack of communication;” “communicate in a way that you can be understood;” “use proper vocabulary and articulate;” “be able to hand-write forms;” “ability to talk to different types of people;” and “write an application, letter to an employer, a resume.”

Under Initiative/ Self-Direction: “time management;” “critical thinking;” “work on your own;” “if you see something that needs to be done, do it;” “start a task, finish a task;” “point the finger at yourself;” and “have confidence to complete jobs.”

Comments heard about Adapt to Various Roles/Flexibility were: “committed;” “dependable;” “showing up to work on time;” “self-starter;” “remain flexible;” “planning ahead;” “prioritize;” “don’t wait until the last minute;” “young people don’t live to work, they work to live;” “consequences for their actions;” and “being organized.”

Under Accountability, comments were heard about: “attention to detail;” “prioritizing;” “being on time prepared to do the job;” “attitude;” “entitlement;” “smile;” “happy to be there;” “making the best of a situation.”

The topic of Leadership Skills/Ethical Behavior: “work together and cooperate;” “listen;” and “integrity.”

“You’ve given us a lot of ideas,” said Jurrens. “Now it’s our job to take all of these ideas and figure out how to put these into practice for our students.”

The next meeting to discuss 21st Century Skills will be held Thursday, Mar. 11, to discuss financial literacy and technology literacy. The final meeting, planned for April, will cover health literacy and civic literacy.