New instructional tool available for teachers

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Kentucky teachers will have a new 21st-century instructional tool when they return to the classroom for the 2011-12 school year. The Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS) is a searchable online database of Kentucky academic standards and student learning targets aligned and linked to high-quality instructional resources from Discovery Education.

The system is designed to help teachers as they implement the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards in mathematics and English/language arts (which also include literacy standards for science, social studies/history and technology classes in grades 6-12).

“Since Kentucky is the first in the nation to fully implement the new common core standards, Kentucky educators face a challenge in identifying high-quality, engaging instructional resources that support and reinforce the new standards,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “CIITS will put those resources at every teacher’s fingertips.”

CIITS is free to all Kentucky public school teachers and is available 24/7 from any Internet-connected computer equipped with modern browsing software.

Holliday stressed that this is just the beginning for CIITS. Later this school year, the rest of Kentucky’s academic standards and thousands more aligned instructional resources from other leading content providers will be added to the system, along with lesson plans and instructional units developed by Kentucky’s Content Leadership Networks. Plans also call for formative assessments to be included in CIITS.

Once an identity management system is in place and access is secured, student data and assessment results will be added to CIITS. This will allow teachers to identify learning gaps and use the CIITS tools and resources to more easily design instructional experiences to meet individual student needs.

CIITS is a multi-phase, multi-year project. Later phases call for the addition of a module to support teacher and leader effectiveness and professional development, and a module to facilitate school and district improvement planning.

“We are designing CIITS to be a one-stop shop for improving instructional outcomes, teacher effectiveness and leadership in all Kentucky schools,” Holliday said.

Recently, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills recognized Kentucky for its ability to integrate 21st-century skills into policy, practice and professional development, in part, for its work on CIITS.

CIITS is a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education, Schoolnet, KET and Discovery Education. Other partners will be added as instructional resources are expanded.

The system is designed specifically for Kentucky public school educators and is not open to the public. General information is available at www.education.ky.gov/kde/instructional+resources/curriculum+documents+and+resources/continuous+instructional+improvement+technology+system+(ciits)+public.htm.

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