Dear Parents and Families,
Most likely you are hearing people talking about the Common Core or Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Vermont is one of 47 states that have adopted the CCSS. You may be asking, “Why are people talking?” and “What is important for me to know?” In this issue of the Calais Newsletter I am including an article written for parents that gives a history behind its development and samples of curriculum standards.
So why standards? Most adult today were educated in classrooms by teachers using basal readers and instructional textbooks. These readers and textbooks were written and edited by publishing companies. The content in these books varied from one publishing company to another; thus students from one district to another, county to county, and state to state had varied levels of knowledge and skills.
Quite simply, about fifteen years ago, states began developing their own curriculum standards, such as Vermont GLEs (Grade level Equivalencies). These standards were constructed starting with what all kindergarten students would be expected to know by the end of their grade and continued to build through each grade level in every content area to what the exiting high school graduate would be expected to know. With the institution of the GLEs, students within a state graduated from high school with a more equalized education; however they were not as college ready as educators would hope.
The CCSS have been built in the reverse order. In other words, the standards were constructed starting with standards for college and career readiness and ending with kindergarten standards. For information on the process and crafters of the CCSS go to: http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards
So, what is the timeline for implementing the common core and how will students be assessed? We are currently in transition using the GLEs and looking carefully at the CCSS to see what is the same and what is a change in curriculum standards from grades to grade. While in this transition, next year we will continue to use the NECAP assessment. In year 2014-15, when our current kindergarten class is in 3rd grade, will use a different assessment tool called Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium or SBAC.
One consistency in education is that educational theory and practice is constantly changing.
Have a delightful spring break!
WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO KNOW?
What are the Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a coherent progression of learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics designed to prepare K–12 students for college and career success. The CCSS communicate what is expected of students at each grade level, putting students, parents, teachers, and school administrators on the same page, working toward shared goals. While most states already have English language arts and mathematics standards in place, they vary widely from state to state in their coverage and level of rigor.
How were the standards developed?
The CCSS effort was launched in June 2009, through a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association working together with parents, teachers, school administrators, and experts from across the country. National and international research, evidence, and standards—including standards from countries that are often recognized for high-quality education—informed development of the CCSS. After public comment, the final version of the CCSS was released in June 2010.
What are the benefits for parents of common standards?
• A common set of standards ensures that all students, no matter where they live, will be focused on graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education and
careers. In an increasingly mobile society, families with children transferring to new schools will not have to adjust to new learning expectations. Standards will be the same for all students in states adopting the CCSS, making transitions smoother for students.
• In a competitive global economy, all students must compete with not only American peers in other states, but with students from around the world. The CCSS were designed to prepare students to succeed in this environment.
• Common standards will facilitate conversation among parents, teachers, and children about high-level academic learning goals. Because common standards define exactly what students should know and be able to do at each grade level, they will help parents hold their schools accountable for teaching students in ways that support learning of the important content and skills defined by the CCSS.
• With adoption of the CCSS, states and districts can share experiences, methods of assessment, teaching practices, instructional materials, and approaches to helping parents support and reinforce learning at home.
How will the standards be assessed?
Two consortia of states—the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers—have been awarded federal funding to develop an assessment system aligned with the CCSS. Different types of assessments to measure students’ progress during and at the end of the school year will be designed for students in grades 3–12. These assessments will be used by states adopting the CCSS beginning in the 2014–2015 school year.
When will the CCSS be implemented?
Many states have already adopted the CCSS. A few others are in the process of doing so. Several states have posted a comparison of their current state standards against the CCSS on their websites. States are also in the process of looking at how and when to introduce the new standards. Plans may include training for school and district staff, communicating with interested people (e.g., community members, parents, and students), and transitioning from existing to new assessment systems.
For more about the Common Core State Standards,
DATES TO REMEMBER: For a complete listing of events click on CALENDAR from the home page of the school website www.calaisschool.org
· Mon 4/23 – Fri 4/27 – April Vacation – No School
· Thurs 5/3 – WCSU Literacy Night 6:30pm, U32 Auditorium
· Fri 5/4 – Drama Club Musical Review 10:30-11:30am, for all ages
· Fri 5/4 – Drama Club Performance 6:30pm ** geared for Grades 3 & up
· Wed 5/16 – School Board Meeting 6:15pm at CES
· Thurs 5/17 – CES Celebration of Learning Open House – 6:30-7:30pm
· Wed 5/23 –Info Night for all Parents of Next Year’s Kindergarteners, 6:00pm
Calais Drama Club
The Calais 4th-6th Grade Drama Club will be presenting our first ever "whodunnit" titled "Who Killed Elvis?" on Friday, May 4th, 2012 starting at 6:30 pm.
As this production is a murder mystery, the play is geared to an audience for Grades 3 and up.
Please keep that in mind when judging whether the play is a good fit for your little ones.
In keeping with our tradition of in-school dress rehearsals
we will be offering a review of the play with scenes and songs to please
all audiences from 10:30-11:30 on the morning of May 4th.
Hope to see you all at our show!
An Evening with Dr. Marjorie Lipson - Come Find Out About the WCSU Literacy Initiative
Date: Thursday, May 3, 2012 Time: 6:30-8:30 PM Where: U-32, Auditorium
For the last three years, WCSU has engaged in a sustained focus on improving literacy instruction for all students in grades PreK-8. Dr. Lipson has been the primary consultant on the project and has worked with teachers and administrators across WCSU. She will be reporting out on what we have accomplished and defining the work ahead. This presentation is for board members, parents, community members, teachers, and administrators. Refreshments will be served.
Community Connections will provide free child care so you can enjoy the literacy program.
Save the date for the annual CES
Celebration of Learning Open House
Thursday, May 17th
KINDERGARTEN PARENT INFORMATION NIGHT
Wednesday May 23, 2012 6:00-7:00pm
Open to parents of ALL Kindergarten students for the 2012-13 school year (parents of our current 4-year old preschoolers and families new to CES). This is a chance for parents to learn about the kindergarten program, ask questions and meet Mrs. Weller, our Kindergarten teacher.
KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION & SCREENING
Thursday May 24, 2012 1:00-3:00pm Open to children who are Calais residents, five years of age on or before September 1, 2012 and who are NOT currently enrolled in the CES preschool program. If you know a Kindergarten-eligible Calais child who is not currently enrolled in our preschool, please ask the family to call Sue to make a registration appointment: 454-7777 Ext. 0
From the Library
The students have spoken! The results of the Red Clover and Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award programs are in.
This year our students both at Calais and across the state chose “Born Yesterday: The Diary of a Young Journalist” as the 2012 Red Clover Winner. The book is written by James Solheim with illustrations by Simon James. This fresh look at a diary is told from the perspective of a newborn, who claims "If I'd known I was going to be born in public, I'd at least have put on a tank top.” This book is full of funnies and a lot of love, it’s no wonder our students enjoyed it.
The Dorothy Canfield Fisher award was a narrower race with the school favorite winning by a single vote. Again the Calais winner was also the favorite across the state so the 2012 DCF Award goes to “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier. This graphic novel/memoir recalls the author’s life during her up and downs with having braces, retainers, and even headgear to help fix her smile after she broke her teeth one fateful night. Telgemeier adds some of the other issues she faced while growing up and still finds a way to tell the story with some humor.
These programs offer our students great reading opportunities and can really build great discussions
Ask your kids which book they voted for. Are they happy with the winners? Why? Why not?
And be sure to stay tuned for the new lists…
--Eric Mongeon, Librarian
Calais Recreation Field Work Day
Saturday April 21st 2012 (rain/snow date April 28th )
Bring a shovel/rake. If you have a child playing baseball/softball please bring them and come help get their field ready for the season!
For more info contact Mike Hudson 456-1168
Dear Artists, Parents, and Friends,
Spring has sprung into our classroom and the children created wonderful flower gardens.
Kindergarten and First grade enjoyed the book "Planting a Rainbow", by Lois Ehlert. They began their collage by looking at garden flowers in magazines, and then quickly moved into building their own 3-DM daffodils, waterhoses, animals, plus frindging grasses. To add the final touches, all students folded tissue paper and added more colors and flowers.
Second grade students completed the Fables, by drawing the front page and back page of the story that was composed during library classes. Then they explored several watercolor techniques of wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, water-resist, and salt textures to create specific shapes or describe a feeling using non-figurative surfaces.
Third and Fourth grade students researched each a famous artist. After reading biographies and looking at their specific genres, styles, and materials, all students explored the techniques of Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Romare Bearden. By understanding the differences of these techniques that were so influencial in art history, the students choose a genre, images, and styles of their choice.
Fifth and Sixth grade students completed their Prezi presentations of a famous artists, including their own interpretation or a replica of the compostion. To integrate the Medieval Ages from the classroom studies, each student had a choice of developing an art piece with either Celtic knots, Coat of Arms, or castle pen drawings. They also watched a film on Gargoyles and are forming with clay a gargoyle of their imagination and choice.
I am proud to announce that many students signed up for the traditional "...it's elementary art" City Center Exhibition in Montpelier, April 13th to May 4th. These students chose their genre, material, and technique to make a composition of their personal preference. Congratulations to Samuel Clark, Caroline Murray, Addison Proulx, Max Fair, Isabel Giammusso, Alex Saunders, Marion Palmiero, Olivia Bates, Addie Hannan, Riley Hudson, Tony Rowell, Dakota Dunham, and Molly McCreedy.
Got email? Please sign up for the weekly school newsletter on the school website: www.calaisschool.org
There is a new menu called “Main Quick Links” on the left side of the CES website. Under this menu a link to subscribe to the newsletter has been added. If you click on the “Subscribe to Newsletter” link you will be instructed on how to enter your email to receive newsletters. You can also sign up for other schools’ newsletters in our district that converted to the new system. --Candy Chevalier, WCSU Network Administrator