From the Principal: Shifting to New Standards Part 3

Part 3: Leading the Way ‘Above & Beyond’

By Jay Greenlinger, Principal

This is Part 3 of 3 in a series of articles related to the current change taking place in the U.S., California, and – most importantly – at La Mariposa.

It’s always difficult to measure how much change on a state or national level will affect you at the local level.  When the news speaks of national debt in the trillions, I find it nearly impossible to relate it to my own finances.  And so it may seem to you, in my previous posts, when I talked about a change to the state’s academic standards.

California’s academic standards are being overhauled, as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will soon become the guide for teaching and learning in California classrooms.

As the academic standards stand to change for all California students, it is of utmost importance to talk about how La Mariposa’s teachers are preparing for the changes.  Well, you will be happy to know that La Mariposa teachers are leading the way.

If you attended Back to School Night on September 12th, you heard me brag a bit about the many ways LMS teachers are ahead of the curve preparing for the Common Core.  If you weren’t at Back to School Night, or were surreptitiously reading about the Apple media event held that day, keep reading to see how our teachers are leading the way. Even of you were there AND paying attention, you are still invited to read on…

La Mariposa teachers attended trainings throughout the summer in preparation for the CCSS. How many hours did teachers spend in classes and workshops?  Over 500 hours! In fact, if you took all of them beginning to end, they would last nearly 24 days.  That’s a very long time and a lot of learning on their part.

The primary focus for most of the workshops was literacy, though many of our teachers also learned about how the math standards will be changing to focus on deeper student understanding of the building blocks of mathematical reasoning.

In the area of literacy, a greater focus will be given on critical thinking, reading for a purpose, and reading in the content areas (science, math, social studies).  The shift in focus toward non-fiction will move classroom instruction away from our prescriptive reading series (Houghton Mifflin is our adopted curriculum), which focuses on lower level thinking (who, what, where, and when). Teachers will focus more on building reading comprehension skills that prepare students to read, understand, and discuss what they’ve read (why and how).

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmetic).  Well, the CCSS has its on catchy cast of letters: the 4 C’s—Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Communication.  Watch this 4 minute video and you’ll know everything you need to know about why the CCSS will greatly improve teaching and learning.

This post can in no way completely explain how the CCSS will change teaching and learning.  However, my goal is not to completely educate you in one post (3, actually).  My hope is that you click on some of the links, and begin to see what’s ahead.  By staying informed of the major shift in education, you can be more supportive to your student, their teachers, and their school.

I hope these posts generate some kind of discussion, questions, or concerns.  You can always approach me or contact me to find out more.  I am excited for the coming changes and wish to share with you everything I am learning.

Jay Greenlinger, Principal

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