What are the Common Core Standards?

In recent months you have probably heard references to the new Common Core Standards that California recently adopted for our K-12 students.  This article is an effort to explain what this means for Reed Union School District. 

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for English language arts and mathematics.  California is one of the 48 states that have adopted these standards for K-12 students. The standards have been informed by the best available evidence and the highest state standards across the country and globe and designed by a diverse group of teachers, experts, parents, and school administrators, so they reflect both our aspirations for our children and the realities of the classroom.  These new standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce.  The standards are benchmarked to international standards to guarantee that our students are competitive in the emerging global marketplace.

We want to make sure that every child in the Reed Union School District is given the tools they need to succeed.  High standards that are consistent across most of the United States should provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations that everyone can work toward together.  This will ensure that we maintain America’s competitive edge, so that all of our students are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to compete with not only their peers here at home, but with students from around the world.

On August 2, 2010, the California State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards with some additions unique to California.   See also “Top Ten Q & A on the Common Core Standards” taken from the California Department of Education. 

The Reed Union School District has updated the District’s Strategic Plan to focus curriculum, assessment and instructional goals on effectively implementing the new Common Core Standards. Teachers and school leaders have become familiar with the new standards for math and English / language arts this past year, and the focus for next year will be concentrated on developing new curriculum maps and aligned assessments to the new standards. A consultant has been hired to work with our instructional staff on Math realignment first, and we will also be developing transition plans to modify English / Language arts curriculum. Complex texts are the cornerstone of the Common Core Standards for English / language arts, so print media for the content areas of science, history/social studies, and technical subjects will need to be updated. Major shifts will be an emphasis on text complexity, integrating reading and writing across the curriculum, more emphasis on informational text, and focus on writing arguments and drawing evidence from sources.

Most importantly the Reed Union School District’s “Vision of an RUSD Graduateare the outcomes we value for our students. The new Common Core Standards will be aligned to these outcomes early in the development process. In the next year we hope all parents become familiar with the exciting changes to our curriculum, assessment and instructional programs.