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!