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Keeping Up With Common Core

Welcome to the new Common Core in California update

By Theresa Harrington

As a service to our readers, EdSource is creating a new Common Core update web page.

This Common Core Update feature is aimed at keeping our readers up to date on how districts are implementing the Common Core

Come here often for news, interviews, events and an online #EdSourceChat opportunity on topics of interest to teachers, parents, administrators.

You can also engage us via Twitter.

Our goal is to help you stay informed on all news related to the Common Core in California and across the country.

We’d also like to hear your ideas about people, schools, events, resources and EdChat topics you’d like to see covered. And please share the link to the site with your friends and colleagues.

Common Core Standards: What educators are saying

Across the country, teachers are adapting their instructional practices to the new Common Core standards in math and English language arts. A recent report, called Listening and Learning from Teachers: A Summary of Focus Groups on the Common Core and Assessments, reveals support, concerns and insights about the standards expressed by elementary teachers in Delaware, Illinois, Utah and Wisconsin. The teachers also discussed how the standards are affecting curricula and instructional materials, testing, student achievement data and accountability.

Although California teachers were not involved in these discussions, many of the comments shared may ring true for those working to implement the standards in this state.

If you’d like to weigh in on how standards are affecting instruction in your school, please participate in our Common Core #EdSourceChat!

Read more

#EdSourceChat

How have the Common Core standards changed instruction in your classroom?

Tweet your comments to @EdSource #EdSourceChat. We'll include some of your responses in the next Common Core Update!

Q & A’s on Common Core

FAQ: What parents should know about the Common Core, by reporter Theresa Harrington

How is the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, affecting Common Core implementation?  

Interview with Anne Udall, of the New Teacher Center

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Calculating the Gift of Gab for Literacy in Secondary Math Classrooms

This webinar will explore how to implement quality classroom discourse to promote disciplinary literacy, academic language, and active listening, and how quality discourse can improve writing. It is being presented through WestEd’s Secondary Literacy Partnerships’ series, “Literacy for College and Career Readiness in the 21st Century,” which focuses on quality classroom discourse. Presenters will provide examples intended to increase academic language and active listening.

Details: Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 3:30–4:45 p.m. PST. Register here.

The Impact of “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy” on Student Performance

Details: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 in the UCCS building at 1130 K Street Conference Room A (Lower Level), Sacramento. Lunch will be provided. RSVP within 48 hours of the event to Rachel Scott at rachel@capitoladvisors.org or call 916-557-9745.

 

Forty-three states, including California, have adopted the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts. An initiative spurred by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Common Core state Standards define skills that students should have mastered by the end of each grade in order to graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and the workplace. In the spring of 2015, California students took the Smarter Balanced assessments aligned with the standards for the first time. The 2016 results showed growth statewide, as teachers and students became more familiar with the standards.
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Common Core Explained

The Common Core State Standards are designed to improve students' chances of success in college and careers by setting uniform standards for what students should know in math and English language arts by the end of each school year, and by the time they graduate from high school. An initiative spurred by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Common Core State Standards have been adopted by forty-three states, but some have since announced major rewrites or replacements, leaving 30 states, plus the District of Columbia sticking to the standards.

Among the major instructional changes are: a substantial increase in the amount of non-fiction reading and writing, a greater emphasis on collaborative activities, and the expectation that math students are not only able to solve problems but explain how they did so.

Beginning in 2015, California students in grades 3-8 and 11 took the Smarter Balanced assessments – a battery of tests in English language arts and math that was designed to assess how well students were doing in those subjects based on instruction they received using the Common Core standards. In most school districts, these tests for the first time were taken on computers, with questions that adjusted in real time to students' answers.

California, home to one in eight of the nation's public school students, is crucial to the success of the Common Core. Conditions seem especially favorable for implementing the standards in California, at least compared to many other states. Both Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators support the Common Core, as do the state's major teachers' unions.

At the same time, California faces significant challenges in implementing the standards in its racially, ethnically, and economically diverse school system. Nearly 60 percent of California's more than 6 million students qualify for free or reduced price meals. In many districts, the percentage is far higher than that. In addition, more than one in four California public-school students are classified as English learners, one of the highest shares in the country. Finally, more than 300,000 teachers, along with principals and other school administrators, needed to be educated about the new standards before they could implement them.

EdSource Resources

Resources

A number of organizations have published online Common Core resources. Following are some of sites explaining various aspects of the Common Core State Standards:

Frequently Asked Questions

Several organizations have compiled lists of frequently asked questions regarding the Common Core State Standards. Here are some of the sites answering these questions from a range of perspectives.

EdSource Today is tracking a small number of California school districts in diverse regions of the state as they implement the Common Core State Standards. These stories highlight the challenges that educators, parents and students are facing as well as the progress they are making through the 2016-17 school year. The districts EdSource is following are: Elk Grove Unified, Fresno Unified, Garden Grove Unified, San Jose Unified, Santa Ana Unified and Visalia Unified. In addition, EdSource is following the Aspire charter school system, which includes 35 schools throughout the state.

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