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Common Core Resources

On July 7. 2015 with a unanimous vote, the Connecticut State Board of Education adopted new national academic standards, known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics that establish what Connecticut’s public school students should know and be able to do as they progress through Grades K-12. Additional resources and links to resources for parents and families about the Common Core are provided below.

Grade-by-Grade Parent Guides to the Common Core in English and Spanish

The Council of the Great City Schools has developed content and grade-specific parent roadmaps that provide detailed information for parents about the expectations of the Common Core in English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics. These roadmaps include examples of grade-level focus in the content area using parent-friendly language, sample progressions of learning across three grade levels in the Common Core, and tips to parents on communicating with teachers about their child's work and how to support learning at home.

K-12 Parent Guides: ELA/Literacy

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K-12 Parent Guides: Mathematics

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K-5 Common Core Standards Presentation

A PowerPoint Presentation on K-5 Common Core standards was given to the CGS/GHR PTO's on February 12, 2013.

National PTA Links to Parent Success

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Grades 9-12 English Parent Guide

Grades 9-12 Math Parent Guide

Common Core State Standards: What Parents Should Know

Today's students are preparing to enter a world in which colleges and businesses are demanding more than ever before. To ensure all students are ready for success after high school, the Common Core State Standards establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Visit the Common Core State Standards Initiative Website (external link will open in new tab).

For more information on the Common Core State Standards, please visit the website below

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Connecticut State Department of Education - Common Core State Standards in Connecticut

Smarter Balanced Assessment

These SBAC next-generation assessments are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts/literacy and mathematics for Grades 3-8. This means students in all states will be taught to the same high standards. Smarter Balanced results beginning with the 2014-2015 school year provides parents, students, and teacher a clearer window on whether students are on track to graduate high school, ready for college, and the workplace.

Parents and students will receive the results of these assessments from their school system in a readable and easy-to-understand format.

Improving Teaching and Learning

The Smarter Balanced approach includes a number of differences from most state assessments:

  • These assessments are administered online and go beyond multiple choice questions to include performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate research, writing, and analytical skills.
  • In addition to a year-end test, beginning in the 2015-2016 school year teachers will be able to administer interim assessments throughout the school year to monitor student progress and make adjustments to instruction.
  • Accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners are built into the system so that the progress of students can be accurately measured.
  • An online reporting system provides clear, easy-to-understand data on student achievement and growth. These reports present parents, teachers, principals, and other local and state leaders with information they can use to help students make even greater progress.

Additional Resources

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Smarter Balanced Website

Smarter Balanced Parent Guide (PDF) from Connecticut State Department of Education

Effective Teaching Strategies

Compilation of best pedagogical approaches

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Curriculum Development Tasks

  • Prioritize and vertically align from grade to grade and course to course. What is it that students are to know and be able to do by the end of the academic year so they are prepared for the next level of learning?
  • Prepare a Pacing Calendar – Allow enough time to ensure that all priority standards can be mastered during the time allowed. Factor in a buffer week between units for the purposes of re-teaching and reassessing close to proficient students.
  • Name the Units of Study.
  • Assign priority standards to each Unit of Study – develop learning progressions and take into consideration vertical alignment when determining learning progressions across grade levels.
  • “Unwrap” the assigned priority standards for each specific Unit of Study. Determine the specific , teachable concepts and skills (what do student need to know and be able to do) within those standards.
  • Create a graphic organizer that is a visual display of the “unwrapped” concepts and skills organized into skills, concepts, and approximate level of Bloom’s Taxonomy and/or Depth of Knowledge (DOK).
  • Decide the Big Ideas (foundational understandings – the student’s “aha’s” which are derived from the “unwrapped” standards).
  • Write the Essential Questions. These are the questions that will engage students to discover for themselves the related Big Ideas.
  • Determine corresponding lessons and / or significant tasks associated with the unit.
  • These are designed to create meaningful learning activities directly based on the “unwrapped” and prioritized standards. List Resources / texts / digital media necessary for implementation of the Unit of Study.
  • Identify critical vocabulary. These should be Tier 2 (academic ) and Tier 3 (domain specific) vocabulary that will be emphasized during the Unit of Study.
  • Identify 21st Century Learning to be emphasized during the implementation of the Unit of Study.
  • Determine Unit Assessments. These standardized Assessments will be further identified during the implementation phase of Units of Study.

Adopted from Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) Model, Larry Ainsworth