In 2010, Arizona joined 46 states in raising the bar for academic requirements by adopting Arizona Common Core Standards.
The new standards respond directly to the request from business leaders to have Arizona students be better prepared for jobs of the future. The standards were developed by teachers, school administrators and other experts to provide a clear and consistent framework to ensure Arizona students are college and career ready.
In the Mesa Public School District, curriculum specialists developed comprehensive materials, and trainers provided wide-ranging professional development to help teachers implement part or all of the new standards for their grade level or subject area. In August, every student in the district will experience Common, core-based instruction.
The Arizona Common Core Standards implementation plan for the coming school year will:
• fully implement English language arts standards in kindergarten through grade 12
• fully implement mathematic standards in kindergarten through grade 12
• reinforce the standards in social studies, science, and career and technical education classes
• administer the AIMS assessment in grades 3 through 8 and high school
• administer the Stanford 10 assessment in grades 2 and 9
In the new school year, teachers will continue to design differentiated learning experiences for students who are achieving at, above, or below grade-level expectations. The full range of support will be provided for all students, including English language learners and students with special needs.
The more familiar parents are with the new standards, the more they can assist their children as they learn and master the rigorous curriculum. Common Core is different. For example, first-grade students are currently mastering concepts that we used to teach in second or third grade just a few years ago. In addition to mastering these concepts, they learn to analyze and apply them.
There are great resources available to help parents better understand the Arizona Common Core Standards.
What students should be learning at each grade level to be prepared for college and career can be found in the National PTA’s Parents’ Guide to Student Success, which is available in English and Spanish. www.pta.org/4446.htm
Expect More Arizona provides grade-level academic milestones and tips for parents in English and Spanish on its website. Also included are activities to do at home with your children. www.expectmorearizona.org/resources/parents/parentmaterials
Supported by the Arizona Public Engagement Task Force, this is a resource on the Common Core Standards for parents, educators, and business and community leaders in Arizona. The site is easy to navigate, and includes video resources and parent resources. www.azed.gov/azcommoncore
Additional sources of information about Arizona’s Common Core Standards are posted on the Mesa Public School website (www.mpsaz.org/curriculum/commoncore). Be sure to explore all the navigation links on the left.
Laura Struna is a family support specialist in the Mesa Unified School District.