PUSD and Common Core State Standards
According to many recent national studies on the future workforce needs in the United States, the literacy skills, critical thinking skills, and the attitudes and behaviors for success in college or postsecondary training look very similar to the skills needed for success in the workplace.
~ Poway Unified School District Strategic Vision: 2008-2014
“Common education standards are essential for producing the educated work force America needs to remain globally competitive. This voluntary state-led effort will help ensure that all students can receive the college- and career-ready, world-class education they deserve, no matter where they live. I applaud the states’ efforts that got us here today and the work of NGA, CCSSO and Achieve in supporting this important achievement.”
~ Craig Barrett, Former CEO and Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation, 2010
There has been a lot of coverage recently in local and national news about the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Work on the CCSS began in 2009, at the request of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA). These two groups tasked education stakeholders to review the various standards already adopted in individual states, build on the best of these standards, and maintain a focus on the skills and knowledge students need to be career- and college-ready.
California “put its stamp” on the Common Core from the very beginning. California was among those states whose existing standards were used extensively in the writing of the Common Core, and California educators played a critical role in reviewing the drafted standards and finalizing them.
The Common Core standards have now been adopted by 45 states, four territories and the Department of Defense Schools. Each state or territory was allowed to add 15% of its existing standards to the Common Core. California added state-specific standards in both English Language Arts & Literacy and Mathematics. These revised standards – now known as California’s Common Core State Standards – were adopted by the California Legislature in August, 2010.
The new California State Standards identify the knowledge, concepts, and skills students should acquire by high school graduation. These standards are broken down by grade level, and subject area. The development of specific courses, curriculum, and instructional materials continues to be the responsibility of each local school district.
The career and college readiness skills that the California standards emphasize have been at the center of Poway Unified’s Mission and Vision for more than a decade. The state standards will continue to focus our work on critical thinking as our students read, write, and reason mathematically across all content areas. PUSD’s 2002-2008 Strategic Plan targeted College and Career Readiness for all students. Expanding on this work, PUSD’s 2008-2014 Strategic Vision includes Rigor (high expectations for all); Relevance (student engagement in learning) and Relationships (personalization of the learning experience for all) as hallmarks of our District’s mission.
In 2012-13, PUSD teachers and administrators once again expanded their focus on career and college readiness, using the new California Common Core standards as one element in lesson and assessment design. As part of this transition, administrators and teachers across the District are participating in a range of Professional Learning activities this year. Below are some highlights:
- K-5 teachers have collaborated on the development of lessons, prompts and exemplars for trimester writing that reflect the Common Core’s emphasis on opinion, informative/explanatory and narrative writing.
- 6-12 English Language Arts, Social Science, Science and Technical Subject teachers have received training on the instructional “shifts” in the Common Core that will require students to read and comprehend literary and informational texts while mastering subject specific academic language, and articulate arguments and claims through writing and speaking with evidence taken directly from reputable resources.
- 6-12 Math teachers have reviewed information and research on the California CC Standards for Mathematical Practices that will require students to master mathematical processes, explain how they solved problems, and apply mathematics to solve problems arising in everyday life.
I believe it is the artistry and passion of the classroom teacher that determines the quality of a student’s educational experience. Please be assured that the transition of our state standards is consistent with the academic excellence we celebrate!
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the Poway Unified School District Board of Education will hold a special workshop on the new California Standards. The workshop will be held at the Poway Unified School District Office, 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128, in the Community Room. The Public is welcome to attend.
John Collins, Superintendent