We have had teams of teachers in grades K-12 doing curriculum work in math, English/language arts, science, and social studies this past month. Teachers have had after school meetings in the areas of math and ELA, discussing the Common Core State Standards implementation. Questions are surfacing and brainstorming is being done, which we expected. The teachers are finding that they have a better and clearer focus for their instruction. Each level---elementary, middle, and high school---have articulated what their specific next steps will be. We're off and running.
In the area of science, teachers met for a full day to discuss the Next Generation Science Standards. Our middle school has done a large amount of work already, as has our high school. The elementary teachers enjoyed meeting with the middle and high school science teachers and have started discussions about building better foundations for our kids in early years. The focus isn't just science content, but thinking strategies and problem solving, and readying kids to be science thinkers.
We also held a full day meeting in the area of social studies, where the teachers looked at several resources and sets of standards. The state hasn't given any definitive direction as to where to go in this subject area, but has given suggestions. The social studies team looked at the National Center for History in the Schools standards, the National Council for Social Studies standards, and more specifically at the College Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework to guide the work. The purpose of the framework is "for states to upgrade their state social studies standards and for practitioners — local school districts, schools, teachers and curriculum writers — to strengthen their social studies programs."
These curriculum teams will continue to meet throughout the year--there is much work still to be done, but we're off to a great start with enthusiastic and collaborative teachers!