Some 2,500 school board members, superintendents and educators from across New York State are attending the three-day convention at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
With the Common Core Learning Standards being such a controversial issue, an overflow crowd turned out to hear State Education Commissioner John King's address on that topic.
"The plan, in essence, is good. Everybody should be on an even playing field. It's the implementation of that and how it affects each district differently, because each district has its own set of concerns, strengths, weaknesses," said Deb Bennett, a Gates-Chili school board member.
Many questioned King on the implementation of the Common Core. Some believe modules being taught are inappropriate for particular grade levels. There are also concerns with the increase in high stakes testing that has traumatized some students.
"We committed at the outset of the implementation of the Common Core to build curriculum materials that would be a resource for districts. The modules are a resource; they are not a mandate, they are not a requirement, they most certainly aren't a script. They are a resource for districts to use as they see fit as part of their local curriculum decisions," King said.
Despite its many challenges, and criticism from teachers and parents, educators point out that the Common Core curriculum is only in its infancy. Districts have seven years to implement the Common Core.
Rochester City School District superintendent Bolgen Vargas believes that's plenty of time for districts to adjust to the new standards.
"We have to work diligent to make sure that happens. We can no longer afford to have a generation of students that are not prepared to participate in the workforce or participating in such a complex economy that we have. Everyone agrees that we have to do a better job of educating our children," Vargas said.
King resumes community forums on the Common Core next week. One is scheduled for Rochester on Nov. 7, at a time and place to be determined.