August 13, 2012
For the 2012-2013 school year, EGUSD elementary teachers will begin teaching students a new curriculum based on California’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These are new academic content standards that address English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, with ELA standards including literacy standards for science and history/social sciences.
The Elk Grove Unified School District is excited about these revised standards which will provide greater learning opportunities for students. Standards define the concepts and skills that every child will learn. The district will phase in these standards from kindergarten through 12th grade over a two year period, starting this year with math in grades K-2 and English Language Arts in grades 3-6. EGUSD teachers are receiving training prior to the start of the school year so that they are prepared to teach this new curriculum.
“It is to our students' advantage to begin the transition of curriculum as soon as possible in order to give them maximum time and practice with the new standards,” said Anne Zeman, Ed.D., director of curriculum and professional learning. “An aggressive transition timeline allows our elementary teachers to focus on the new Common Core in one subject area per year, a more realistic approach than asking teachers to learn and implement both math and English language arts in the same year.”
The standards stem from a nationwide initiative to set a clear and consistent progression of learning across all states. In 2010, the California State Board of Education adopted these standards with some additions unique to California. These kindergarten through 12th grade standards provide a progression of knowledge and skills that prepare students to graduate from high school and be ready for college and careers. The standards are research-based and internationally benchmarked.
In talking to their students, parents may notice the impacts of these revised academic standards. One example is that, over time, students will be able to read, comprehend and analyze more sophisticated text. A teacher may encourage a student to choose books that are written at a more challenging level. Parents may also notice more frequent writing assignments. This includes more writing within core subjects of science and history/social science.
In mathematics, parents may see their students making drawings or models to illustrate or demonstrate their solutions to problems. While the learning of math facts (for instance, “times tables”) is still important, students will spend more time working through a solution to a “real-life” problem rather than repeatedly practicing the same type of problem. For example, a “real-life” problem might involve designing alternative shapes for a rabbit pen enclosure if given a limited amount of fencing.
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has posted resource guides by grade level to help parents better understand what the implementation of these standards will mean for their student. To view these resources, visit http://www.pta.org/4446.htm. More information is posted on EGUSD’s CCSS website at http://blogs.egusd.net/ccss/.