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Carroll parents to host Common Core forum

A group of Carroll County parents will host a non-political community forum on the Maryland Common Core State Standards Sept. 19.

Carroll Values Education and the Parent Guides for Carroll County Public Schools will present the forum to discuss the Common Core and the Partnership for Assessments of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Assessments to help clarify what the new curriculum and testing means for public schools students.

"We recognize that parents and the community are not familiar with the changes that have, and will be happening in our publice schools," Carroll Values Education founder Bob Lord said in a statement. "Common Core has been a hot topic in Carroll County, but sometimes the information has been heavily politicized. We feel that hosting a forum that is nonpolitical will greatly benefit the citizens of Carroll County."

Carroll Values Education is a parent advocacy group promoting quality education for all children in county public schools. Parent Guides is a pilot program in which parents with questions are directed to a parent volunteer who can either answer their question or suggest the correct contact within the school system.

Required by state law, the common core is currently instilled in all grades within Carroll County Public Schools to varying degrees, according to Margaret Pfaff, Director of Curriculum and Instructional Resources.

Beginning this year, the math curriculum at the elementary and middle schools have fully transitioned to the common core, while some high school math courses are still in the process of transitioning, she said.

In regards to English courses, high school English courses are completely transitioned, while the elementary and middle school English and language arts courses are on ongoing process, Pfaff said.

"The overall implementation and the overall expectations of the common core are evident in all grade levels," she said.

The community forum will be held Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Winters Mill High School. Winters Mill is located at 560 Gorsuch Road in Westminster.

Guest speakers include Pfaff, Cheryl Bost, Vice President of the Maryland State Education Association, and Pam Mesta, Carroll County Public Schools Supervisor of ESOL (English as a second language).

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