As technology continues to evolve at warp speed, will plans for our schools curriculum better prepare students for the future? Wrightsboro Elementary School kids all have big dreams. But will our local school systems be able to get them there? "I think it's a relevant question because we need to be planning for what will happen in 2020," Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Zelphia Grissett said. She believes the future is bright in Brunswick County. But it's going to take intensive teacher training. Grissett said, "There is a push to have students ready for the 21st century, and so we're trying to train our teachers in the use of technology integration so they are prepared to help students meet the accountability standards that they will face." According to the federal government, those standards will have to be met long before the year 2020. By 2014, the No Child Left Behind act will require all teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree. All children will have to be proficient in reading and math -- one hundred percent of students will be expected to pass their end of grade exams or score ten percent higher than on the previous year's exams. Grissett says this is a huge concern. "Not all students learn at the same rate at the same time, it is not reasonable to have children with disabilities that the child might learn at the same rate like a child that may be gifted, but with the federal law, it's pretty much unforgiving." Other challenges Brunswick County will face in the future are providing the resources for an increasing Hispanic population and students with disabilities. New Hanover County is dealing with many of the same issues. Before the No Child Left Behind deadline approaches the district will be looking into different ways of monitoring students' progression. One example is formative testing -- exams without grades and without using paper and pencil. Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dale Pelsey-Becton said, "This is an activity that I've been doing with kids for years, and maybe it's not working with the group that I have now. What do I need to do differently so that the child can be successful -- because that is our ultimate goal." Pender County schools plan to do the same. Pender County Schools Director of Elementary Education Molly White said, "When they do formative assessments they can group and regroup them to their strengths and their weaknesses so it's an opportunity for us to enrich our high performing students and provide additional support to our students who are struggling." Each school district hopes to provide their teachers with as many tools and strategies needed to succeed in the future. They only hope already strained budgets won't prevent that from happening. New Hanover County is already trying out formative testing with a small group of students. If it's successful they plan to integrate it into their curriculum as soon as possible.
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