Common Core Curriculum & Assessment
As we transition from the current California Content Standards to the California Common Core Standards in Math and English Language Arts, it's important to know that 70-80% of the standards will remain the same. The real difference is in the cognitive rigor of what we are asking students to do (i.e. students will be reading more complex and varied texts). The shift toward the Common Core State Standards will infuse a systemic change in California’s educational system with a focus on ensuring students are college and career ready upon high school graduation. Built upon not only what students need to know, but also on how they arrive at solving complex problems, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will help students learn unique skills they will need to be successful in a rapidly changing global economy. CCCS is not a federal mandate imposed upon us; the standards were driven by several states’ need to agree on common standards measuring college readiness. This set of shared national standards will help to ensure that students in every state are held to the same level of expectations that students in the world’s highest-performing countries are, and that they gain the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for success in postsecondary education and in the global arena.
In addition to new instructional strategies and a realignment of the curriculum at all grade levels, the CCSS requires a new system of assessment. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is currently creating new assessments for use across the country. Similar to the shift in standards, students participated in the new SmarterBalanced Assessment pilot in spring 2014, aligned to the Common Core. The SBAC assessments require online testing. This is a major departure from the paper and pencil tests students have taken in the past. As a result, technology will need to be infused into the curriculum, providing students with the necessary skills to demonstrate their knowledge in an online environment.
As part of our Great Expectations for students, Savanna’s certificated staff members are participating in professional development throughout the 2014-15 school year to learn more about the Common Core State Standards and the steps we will be taking over the next several years as we ‘shift’ from California State Standards to implementing the Common Core. The wonderful news is that we’ve already implemented several instructional programs that align well with Common Core including our district-wide writing program, Write From the Beginning, Explicit Direct Instruction, Student Engagement Strategies, and Thinking Maps. These programs have helped to transform teaching and learning in our schools. The goal is that all of our students will promote to seventh grade with skills necessary to succeed in junior and senior high school as well as be college and career ready. The Common Core will include the incorporation of the ‘Four C’s:’ communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, as we help our young people to become independent thinkers rather than simply memorizing rote facts. Our students deserve nothing less; we as educators could give them nothing more important. The Common Core professional development programs and the shift to helping our students solve complex problems will impact our children's education and our community for generations to come, demonstrating “The Best Is Yet To Come!” as we prepare to leave a legacy for tomorrow’s generation.