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Blog EntryBlog: Friday, September 19, 2014

What is this Common Core?

Dear Parents,
Now that we have transitioned into our school year, it’s a good time to discuss
the Common Core of State Standards. It feels as if schools have been
working on the CCSS for a couple of years but not engaging our parents. I
would like to use the newsletter to explain and clear up any misconceptions
that parents and community members may have about the Common Core.
The origins of the Common Core came from the 1990s (not No Child Left Behind)
when state governors worked with the president to get a better handle
of their state standards. Each state had different criteria though not one
state’s matched the learning expectations of other industrialized nations. The
Common Core in Math and English Language Arts (ELA) were created to
have consistent high standards from state to state. Currently, 44 states have
endorsed the Common Core including Vermont. We have always had high
learning standards in Vermont and have worked extensively in the past two
years to increase our expectations and go deeper in the our curricular areas.
The strategy is to create expectations for high school graduation—that ensures
every student is “college or career ready”. The standards then work down each grade from there
to ensure that a natural (rigorous) progression occurs.
The Common Core has been highly politicized but we are logically in favor of having rigorous, consistent,
national learning expectations. Each district must find its own way to have students meet the
standards and South Burlington teachers are working extensively to meet this challenge.
Next week, we’ll explore the grade-wide assessments that are evolving. In the meantime, I encourage all
parents to go to the Orchard webpage and click on the “Educator Links” on the left side bar, to read
about the Common Core. Also, check out this 3-minute video that explains the Common Core: http://
player.vimeo.com/video/51933492?api=1—it’s pretty good.
Speaking of high standards, our students were extremely handsome for the School-Portrait Day
(remember when we used to call it School Picture Day). Everyone did a nice job. Thank you to all of our
parent volunteers for supporting such a good looking bunch!
Please read through the letter from our student support staff on their roles in the school. Have a great weekend;
take some time to read to your child.
M. Trifilio

Posted by Mark Trifilio at 11:41 AM
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