Shorewood & the Common Core
As you may have heard, the Shorewood School District, like many districts across the state, is working to align to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The standards were adopted by Wisconsin in 2010 (for math and English/language arts), and are a group of national learning goals outlining what students should know and be able to do by the end of every grade level. (Previously, Wisconsin only had standards outlining what students should know at the end of grades 4, 8 and 12.)
In Shorewood, we think of the standards as a floor—they define the foundation of learning—all other aspects of our curriculum that are more advanced than the standards won’t go away; instead, students and teachers will continue to move upward, building upon the floor provided by standards, without drastically changing or altering the educational experience Shorewood families have come to expect. We think it makes sense to align to the standards so students are successful on the new assessments, while ensuring that this alignment does not limit our schools’ best work. (The District is not formally adopting the standards.) Even though there has been controversy surrounding the standards, Shorewood’s alignment effort is a reasonable approach to support students while maintaining our own unique, high expectations.
These standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful, while helping families understand what is expected of their students. In Wisconsin, teams of educational professionals, including representatives from the Wisconsin State Reading Association, the Wisconsin Mathematics Council, the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English, and the University of Wisconsin System, as well as the state’s Technical College system and Private College system all reviewed drafts of the standards. UW-Madison leaders and the president of Gateway Technical College also provided feedback throughout the process. Currently, standards have only been released for English/language arts and math. Standards have not been adopted for other subject areas yet, although the Next Generation Science Standards are being reviewed and are expected to be formally adopted soon. Social studies standards are still being developed; we will continue to update you as more information about those standards becomes available.
To ensure that our families are adequately informed about the standards and how they’ll look in Shorewood, we are launching a CCSS communication effort, aimed at outlining exactly how the standards will be carried out in each grade level, as well as for specific populations of students, such as those enrolled in Special Education classes and those that are part of our ELL (English Language Learner) program, and what students and families can expect throughout the next few years as the standards are rolled out. The first part of this effort, a web page with general information about the standards, is live now. Additional communication pieces will be released during the coming weeks, using both online tools as well as more “traditional” methods, like paper brochures.
If you have any questions about the standards or their implementation, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Tabia Nicholas, our Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Pupil Services. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 414-963-6903.
Monday April, 28, 2014 at 11:00PM
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