Ellington Teacher on CT Common Core 'Dream Team'

Credit: Patch
Credit: Patch

Written by David Gurliacci

Tomasa Raver, a fourth grade teacher in Ellington, was named one of 97 "Connecticut Dream Team" teachers who will learn more about teaching that’s aligned with Common Core education standards. Those teachers will then spread the word to other teachers.

The state Department of Education on Wednesday announced the list, which included Raver, a teacher at Center School. A full list of the 97 teachers from 86 school districts around the state can be found here.

Getting on the list was competitive. According to a news release from the Department of Education, teachers "were chosen through a competitive statewide application on the basis of their content knowledge, grit, and understanding of the Common Core State Standards. Each educator demonstrated the commitment and ability to “scale their impact” beyond their classroom."

TeachFest Connecticut Learning Session

Each of the teachers on the "Connecticut Dream Team" is invited to "TeachFest Connecticut," which the news release describes as "an intensive professional learning session on the Common Core State Standards, where they will develop high-quality resources to be shared with fellow teachers." The conference runs from April 25 to 27 in Hartford.

The TeachFest conference will be led by LearnZillion, a "provider of digital curriculum and professional development for the Common Core" which developed an "innovative model" for teaching aligned with Common Core standards, according to the news release.

Then the Teachers Spread the Word

"Following TeachFest, the Connecticut Dream Team members will return to their 86 elementary, middle and high schools to continue working with peers and content coaches in facilitated online professional learning communities (PLCs)," according to the news release.

"During this process, the Dream Team members will translate their proven teaching methods and classroom expertise into high-quality Common Core resources for use by teachers in Connecticut and will be available on CTCoreStandards.org," the announcement said. "These resources will also be made available to teachers across the country, through a free Common Core resource library."

This summer, Dream Team teachers will serve s "teacher leaders" at a July 29 “Common Core Fest” for hundreds of teachers across the state, according to the announcement.

Other Common Core Preparation Activities

According to the news release:

"In addition to the LearnZillion experience, the State Department of Education is already sponsoring a series of professional development opportunities for educators across Connecticut:

  • "Since the beginning of the school year, school and district leaders have taken part in “communities of practice”— gatherings which focus on implementing the new standards and sharing best practices already in place.

  • "Also, the SDE has convened over 1,500 teachers from 163 districts as Common Core Coaches to develop expertise in the new standards through a series of trainings and webinars.

  • "Common Core training opportunities are also being designed for 600 new teachers, student teachers and their mentors, as well as the faculty of teacher-preparation programs."

Support From Teachers Union

“We applaud all of the teachers who stepped up and volunteered to serve in this important role. Their firsthand classroom experience will be invaluable in helping their colleagues effectively implement Common Core — an effort that has been a significant challenge for so many of our state’s schools,” said Melodie Peters, Connecticut president of the American Federation of Teachers.

“Classroom educators were among the first to speak out and urge that their voices be heard in making new teaching standards work when they were adopted four years ago," she said. "This effort reflects a major step forward for implementing the core set of standards because it empowers teachers to train teachers.”


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