It’s important that parents are aware of changes to their child’s academic program. Over the course of the coming year, you will notice changes to instruction and testing that will directly impact your child. It is important that you know about these changes and what resources are available to help you support your child.
In July of 2010, the New York State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which are a national set of learning expectations for college and career success that were developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, and education experts. New York is one of forty six states and U.S territories that have adopted the CCSS. The standards were developed out of partnership between the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association and are not an initiative of the federal government. These newly adopted standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn in K-12 math and language arts. While there are many similarities between the existing New York state standards and the CCSS, you might notice changes in what content is emphasized and the grade in which the content is taught. For example, there is an increased emphasis on nonfiction texts and on mathematical reasoning and articulation in middle school in the new standards.
The purpose of adopting the CCSS is not simply to align with other states, but rather to raise the bar in all grades to ensure that our students are receiving a relevant and rigorous education. It is felt that with the adoption of the CCSS children will be better prepared to meet the demands of college and/or the work place in the 21st century. Today’s global economy means that our students need to possess academic standards by the completion of twelfth grade to ensure their success in college and/or workforce.
For additional information you can go to http://engageny.org/common-core-curriculum-assessments. In addition, the National PTA has organized resources to help parents support their child. Information can be found at http://www.pta.org/common_core_state_standards.asp. If you have additional questions as to how this might impact your child’s education, please feel free to contact me.
Any change brings with it a certain stresses. For children, the common core learning standards are most certainly a step up in the expectations for the skills and content they are responsible for in grades 6-8; indeed, most educators and leaders in the field agree that the most significant changes brought by the common core have taken place at the middle level. For teachers, important decisions have to be made about instructional practice and curriculum.
At the school wide level, we are working on various initiatives to meet these new standards. Two shifts in the common core call for greater text complexity, perseverance in reading longer texts, and the use of higher level vocabulary. The best way for students to prepare to meet this standard is to read more, especially nonfiction. With this in mind we will be emphasizing reading across the curriculum in disciplines such as health, home and career skills, or and physical education as well as in English language arts.
Stay tuned for more updates about the Common Core
On March 7 we will have a presentation at our PTSA meeting about the Common Core Learning Standards. I hope you will join us.