Since 2010, 45 states and four U.S. territories have adopted the same standards for English and math called the Common Core Standards. In 2009, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices committed to developing a set of standards that would help prepare students for success in college and career.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative was a voluntary, state-led effort coordinated by these two groups to establish clear and consistent education standards. Parents, educators, content experts, researchers, national organizations, and community groups from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia all participated in the development of the standards.
These new standards were developed by states and for states; built upon strengths and lessons learned in states and the experiences of teachers, content experts, and leading thinkers; and feedback from the general public. They were informed by other top performing countries, and grounded in research and evidence. The CCSS were developed for English-language arts and mathematics, kindergarten through 12th grade.
On Aug. 2, 2010, the California State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations of the Academic Content Standards Commission, a commission established by Senate Bill 1 from the fifth Extraordinary Session, to develop academic content standards in language arts and mathematics. Prior to adoption, the standards commission evaluated the CCSS for rigor and alignment to California standards. They inserted words, phrases and select California standards in their entirety to maintain California’s high expectations for students. Implementation of the CCSS began after the adoption in August 2010. A timeline from the California Department of Education can be found here.
For Novato Unified School District and districts all over the country, a successful transition to implement these standards requires careful planning and professional development. At NUSD, we are working on building foundational resources and opportunities within our district to strengthen our teachers’ knowledge on the shifts with instruction as we implement CCSS.
In August 2012, NUSD began the school year by providing multiple opportunities for teachers to attend trainings on materials that support the CCSS implementation and higher order thinking skills. In the early fall, we established CCSS collaborative groups for K-12 English language arts, elementary math, secondary math and elementary science in order to develop teacher leaders that can help inform and support teachers at all sites with the new standards. These groups meet monthly and have been providing important information to all teachers.
With the transition to CCSS under way, it is our goal to include all stakeholders as we support teachers through these exciting times. We will do this by providing parent newsletters that highlight the Common Core Initiative, hold parent education nights to inform parents and the community, and present new and evolving information to our board members as we strengthen our instruction and curriculum.
We will be holding our first Parent Education Night on the Common Core State Standards at 6 p.m. March 11 at the district office.
— Amanda Langford, Ruthanne Bexton, Megan Pettis and Vicki Romero, NUSD Curriculum and Instruction