Thursday, August 23, 2012

Common Core Georgia Performance Standards


Teaching and learning is the core of what we do in schools. The job of any great school and school system is to provide a viable curriculum that engages, challenges, and prepares students for success after graduation. Georgia, along with 47 other states, has reviewed its curriculum standards and determined that we can do more.

Beginning this year, Georgia will adopt the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS). These standards were developed in conjunction with the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In short, these new national standards will establish a consistent framework for what students learn no matter where they attend school in our nation. In addition, they will seek to better prepare students for success in college and careers after graduation through increased rigor and a more consistent focus on non-fiction reading and writing.

What does this mean for the students of Oconee County Schools? Starting this school year, students in grades K-12 will see the implementation of the new English language arts standards in their classrooms. Students in grades K-9 will also experience new math standards and see those standards transition to the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades over the next three years. In 2014, students will begin taking a national common assessment in English, writing, and math. This assessment will allow us to compare the achievement of our students to students throughout the United States. You can learn more about the PARCC assessment by visiting www.parcconline.org.

What does this mean for OCS teachers? To this point, it has meant additional preparation and learning. Our teachers have worked hard over the last year to review the new curriculum and prepare lessons that challenge our students and align properly with the standards. While their work is ongoing, teachers have done an outstanding job of collaborating with each other and utilizing the resources provided. To review two websites our teachers are currently using please visit www.corestandards.org and/or www.georgiastandards.org.

What does this mean for the parents of OCS students? It is my hope that it will mean an opportunity for greater engagement and dialogue about what our students are learning. The National PTA has created The Parent Guide to Student Success to assist in communicating more about the Common Core. The guide includes key items that children should learn in each grade, activities parents can do at home to support their child’s learning, and tips for planning for college and careers. Please visit www.pta.org to learn more.

Once you have had a chance to read, review, and digest this information, I would love to know your thoughts. Do you agree that a more rigorous curriculum is needed? What do you feel our students need most to prepare for success after high school? As always, I look forward to your thoughtful responses. Please email me those thoughts at jbranch@oconeeschools.org.

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