Board member brings ideas from conference

OPPENHEIM – Officials at a local school district recently attended a conference where they got ideas for tailoring curriculum standards to modern-day needs.

Members of the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School Board of Education discussed education strategies at a meeting Wednesday.

Keith Handy, member of the OESJ school board, said members of the staff and board attended the Model Schools Conference earlier in July, where Common Core education standards were discussed.

Handy said in the U.S., 3.8 million jobs are vacant due to a lack of trained professionals for those positions.

“[Companies] have to go to Japan, they have to go to Korea, they have to go to a lot of Asian countries to find the kind of workers we need in this country to fill these kinds of jobs,” Handy said.

Handy said 60 percent to 70 percent of college graduates still live with their parents. Some may have jobs, Handy said, but they may not be able to afford living on their own.

“This causes a high dependency on social services,” Handy said.

Handy said the Common Core standards can help solve these issues.

According to the district’s website, Common Core state standards are “the first step in providing our young people with a high-quality education.”

According to the site, the Common Core standards focus on core conceptual understandings and procedures starting in the early grades, enabling teachers to take the time needed to teach core concepts and procedures well-and to give students the opportunity to master them.

“What it is, is being able to apply their education to a career,” Handy said.

Handy said the one theme that was repeated at the conference was culture trumped strategy. Handy said it was important to change the culture around education to have a real effect on the students. This could be done by having parents work with the teachers and faculty rather than having a antagonistic relationship.

Steve Trodler, district tech coordinator, suggested allowing students to bring their electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets, to school to work on projects.

Arthur Cleveland covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at