The national election cycle has just ended. Inevitably, there is much change on the horizon for public education as the dust settles and the President and Congress look to the future.
One of the most significant changes will be the transition next year to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for learning.
Illinois is one of more than 45 states that have adopted and will implement the new CCSS, which are national learning expectations that align with international learning standards. The new national CCSS will replace the current state learning standards. This will be the largest education reform to happen in decades.
The CCSS emphasize developing critical thinking skills to help our students better compete and succeed in a global economy. They will improve teaching and learning because:
- There are FEWER CCSS than the current state learning standards. Schools will be able to focus more effectively on a shorter, more meaningful set of learning objectives, and teach those objectives to greater depth.
- The CCSS are CLEARER, so teachers can understand and explain them better in the classroom.
- The rigor in the CCSS is HIGHER, so all students will be challenged to apply learning through problem solving activities.
Many District 202 educators have already worked to align our Math curriculum to the new CCSS. Work is ongoing to align the English Language Arts curriculum as well. New learning standards for Science and Social Studies are being developed.
Our teachers already do a wonderful job preparing students for life after high school, but the new learning standards will help us to equip students even more with strong skills to be life-long competent learners.
District 202 will implement the new CCSS math standards in Fall 2013, and the CCSS English and Language Arts standards in the Fall of 2014 at all levels.
New standardized tests aligned to the CCSS will also begin in 2014-15. The new tests will be given several times a year to third through eleventh graders, to help teachers better gauge and adjust their instruction through the school year.
We will continue to share information about this significant change throughout the school year. However, please visit www.psd202.org/commoncore for more information now about the new CCSS.
This is an exciting and challenging time for everyone in education. We hope and trust that our parents and families will continue to support District 202 as we work together to prepare learners for the future.
Dr. John Harper
Superintendent of Schools