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The CCSS & Freshmen/Sophomore English/Language Arts

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a group of national learning goals outlining what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level. They were adopted for English/language arts and math by the state of Wisconsin in 2010. (Previously, Wisconsin only had standards outlining what students should know for grades 4, 8 and 12.)

These standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills needed to be successful, while helping families understand what is expected of their students. It’s also important to remember that the CCSS are not a curriculum; they are standards that establish what students need to learn, but don’t dictate how teachers should teach. 

In Shorewood, we are aligning to the Common Core Standards, but are not formally adopting them. This gives our staff more flexibility when designing curriculum, while ensuring our students to be better prepared for the content they’ll see on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (which will begin replacing the WKCE during the 14-15 school year), without drastically changing our curriculum.

Our District and teachers will work together to decide how to best help students reach the standards. Differentiation will still be available for students, meaning students that need extra challenges will receive them, while students that need extra assistance will receive help.


  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and evidence
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience 
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events
  • Use technology to produce, publish and update individual/shared writing products
  • Write information/explanatory texts to examine and convey ideas, concepts and information
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, etc.
  • Conduct short and sustained research projects
  • Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames (ie- a single day)
  • Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative sources, using advanced search techniques effectively
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research

Reading (Fiction & Non-Fiction)

  • Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says, both explicitly and through inferences
  • Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text
  • Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with others, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • Determine the meaning of words/phrases as used in a text, including figurative, technical and connotative meanings
  • Consider how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it and manipulate time create effects like mystery, tension, etc.
  • Analyze a point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work from outside the U.S., drawing on a wide reading of world literature
  • Study the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment
  • Evaluate how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work Interpret how an author’s ideas/claims are developed/refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or chapters
  • Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (ie the Gettysburg Address), to determine how they address related themes/concepts


  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; spell correctly
  • Understand how language functions in different contexts, make effective choices for meaning or style, and comprehend when reading or listening
  • Show understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and word nuances Determine/clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words/phrases

Speaking & Listening

  • Initiate and participate effectively in collaborative discussions
  • Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats, evaluating the credibility & accuracy of each source
  • Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence
  • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically so listeners can follow along
  • Make strategic use of digital media in presentations
  • Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, with command of formal English


As part of the shift, students will take part in a new system of assessments. As high schoolers, students will take tests that are dependent upon their grade level.  Specific information about the tests can be found below:

ExamGradesExam Info
Access 2.0 (60
minutes to administer) 
(ELL Students starting
during the 15-16 school year) 

• Elements of CCSS embedded
• Screens & provides an annual summary
• Computer adaptive

ACT Aspire (250 minutes
to administer) 
9th & 10th graders  • Includes English, writing, math, reading
and science assessments
• Provides a predicted ACT score for each
subject & composite 
 ACT (250 minutes to 
 11th graders 

• Includes administration options for 
students with special needs

 ACT WorkKeys 12th graders 

• Includes applied math, locating information 
and reading for information


*The ACT will now be administered to all 11th graders at school, during the school day for free. Students still have the option to take the test again, on their own, outside of the school day, but will have to pay the testing fee. 


District Calendar

    • TueApr24 Lake Bluff Linkage 5:45 PMSHS Conference Room #116
    • TueApr24 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMay08 School Board Town Hall 5:45 PM to 6:45 PMSHS Library
    • TueMay08 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMay22 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM

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