The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 26, 2012

New curriculum taught in Stanly County classrooms

By Dr. Terry Griffin for the SNAP

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 — Effective with the 2012-13 school year, the Common Core Standards for english, language arts and mathematics are being delivered in K-12 classrooms across North Carolina, including classrooms in Stanly County.  

The implementation of the Common Core Standards represents the most significant change in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study in the past 30 years.

The Common Core Standards were developed by teachers, administrators, policy makers and business leaders from across the United States.  North Carolina is one of 45 states to adopt the Common Core Standards.

The standards provide a blueprint for what students are expected to learn in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades K-12, and the skills build upon each other from one year to the next.  

In addition, the Common Core Standards place special emphasis on “college and career readiness” skills.  College and career readiness skills represent a combination of content knowledge and skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and problem solving.  

These skills are necessary for our graduates to successfully compete in a global society. One of the most dramatic changes in daily instruction is the inclusion of historical, scientific and technical text in classroom instruction.

Expectations for language arts are established for each grade level across all subjects and encourage the development of “academic vocabulary” for students in grades K-12.

 Writing takes on another dimension in the Common Core. The new standards expand beyond narrative writing skills to include skills such as comparison of multiple texts, supporting claims, and the application of learned information to new situations.

 In mathematics a major emphasis is placed on providing students a solid foundation in K-5 so they will be able to apply basic skills to complex problem solving situations in middle school and high school mathematics.  

The teachers and administrators of Stanly County have been working for the past two years to prepare themselves for the transition to the Common Core Standards. For the past two years a team of teachers, administrators and central office staff have attended summer institutes sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

This team of educators serves as Common Core leaders throughout the school year.  In order to promote collaboration and sharing of resources among schools, the district has leveraged the power of technology through the development of common websites for sharing and the development of curriculum maps for all content areas. Teachers are incorporating the use of on-going formative assessments into daily instruction to guide their teaching. Benchmark or interim assessments either have or are in the process of being developed for use by all teachers in the district.  

In order to support children with the new curriculum parents can do several things.

First, make non-fiction text available and encourage your children to read it by discussing what they are reading aloud. When you are purchasing books for your children to read for enjoyment, include those that explain topics in science and history.   Encourage writing at home by writing or making picture books together.    

Take every opportunity to pose problem-solving scenarios with basic math skills and allow children to present evidence in everyday discussions. Encour-age children to master basic math facts and notice whether your child knows why the answer is what it is. Look for ways to integrate math into daily life activities such as cooking and planning for birthday parties.   

And finally, parents should communicate with the classroom teacher in order to know what their child is expected to know and how well they are progressing throughout the year. Education is a partnership between the school and home. If you want to know more about the Common Core as it applies to your child, please contact your child’s teacher or principal.