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BOCES 2 prepares schools for implementing the Common Core Learning Standards

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Teachers are rethinking their instructional practices to better prepare for the instructional shifts outlined by the new Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), which is expected to be fully implemented by September.

The standards include 12 instructional shifts – six in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and six in math – for teachers to consider in classroom curriculum and instruction. The CCLS is part of Race to the Top funding, a federal education initiative. New York distributed some of its portion of the federal funds to schools throughout the state to support CCLS implementation.

“The standards are designed to promote global competitiveness, and to bring all states together in order to create curriculum that is deeper and more rigorous for all students,” said BOCES 2 Professional Development Specialist Jolene Dettman.

To help with the transition, the BOCES 2 Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development has been offering training and support to area schools.

“We began working with schools last spring to become familiar with CCLS,” said BOCES 2 Professional Development Specialist Kristen Driskill, Ed.D. “Throughout the year we have continued to dig deeper with teachers.”

BOCES 2 staff continues to have ongoing conversations within and among area schools about how CCLS will impact administrators, teachers, parents and students.

Administrators have worked side-by-side with BOCES 2 staff to outline plans to support their teachers in rethinking instruction. 

“In order to really dig in and make changes, collaboration is a key concept,” said Driskill.

Collaborating on academic vocabulary is one example Driskill often focuses on with teachers across all content areas.

“Many classroom teachers I coach have asked for model lessons on how to use complex text with struggling readers for example,” she said. “This is an area I model most often for teachers.”  

The CCLS defines a set of standards –Standards for ELA & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects – that are specific to all areas beyond the ELA classroom. These standards reinforce the idea that all teachers contribute to students’ literacy learning. 

“Once teachers of these disciplines discover that the standards truly respect and honor their content, they realize that the initiative can have a significant and positive impact on students’ literacy learning,” said Dettman.

For parents, Driskill recommends keeping in close communication with school staff. Parents can help support their children at home only after they have been educated on the process and content.

The CCLS demands more in terms of reading, writing and thinking, so students need to be prepared for the increase in rigor they will see, according to Driskill.

“The CCLS really does help teach students how to be resilient, so students should be prepared to meet the challenges that lie ahead,” she said.

For more information about the CCLS, please visit http://engageny.org/common-core/

Caption: BOCES 2 Professional Development Specialist Jolene Dettman works with area school teachers during the recent Common Core Unit Writing workshop at the Elementary Science Program. The workshop provided an opportunity for science and social studies teachers to reflect on teaching literacy within their content area.