Common Core State Standards

Mission of Common Core Initiative

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

What are the Common Core Standards?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed through a state-led initiative to establish consistent and clear education standards for English-language arts and mathematics that would better prepare students for success in the competitive global economy.


These new standards focus on integrating academic content with skill instruction. The CCSS makes clear what students should be able to do, as well as what they should know when they graduate. All of the English/Language Arts standards at the lower grades build, or spiral, to the twelfth grade standards. It is possible to trace the development of a standard from kindergarten through graduation, at each level the work increases in complexity. The Math standards focus on "habits of mind" that students can apply at all levels of mathematics. This shift is an exciting opportunity for teachers to vertically articulate curriculum in ways not possible under the current standards.

How will the Common Core Be Assessed?

Beginning in 2014-15, Common Core Standards will be assessed in grades 3-8 and once more in grade 11. There are two consortiums that will provide the assessments to states and California has selected Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Smarter Balanced is a state-led consortium working collaboratively to develop next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness. The Consortium involves educators, researchers, policymakers, and community groups in a transparent and consensus-driven process to help all students thrive in a knowledge-driven global economy.

Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a balanced, high-quality assessment system—including formative, interim, and summative components—can improve teaching and learning by providing information and tools for teachers and schools to help students succeed. Timely and meaningful assessment information can offer specific information about areas of performance so that teachers can follow up with targeted instruction, students can better target their own efforts, and administrators and policymakers can more fully understand what students know and can do, in order to guide curriculum and professional development decisions.

Smarter Balanced assessments make use of computer adaptive technology, which is more precise and efficient than fixed-form testing. Teachers, principals, and parents can receive results from computerized assessments in weeks, not months. Faster results mean that teachers can use the information from optional interim assessments throughout the school year to differentiate instruction and better meet the unique needs of their students.

Smarter Balanced assessments will go beyond multiple-choice questions and include short constructed response, extended constructed response, and performance tasks that allow students to complete an in-depth project that demonstrate analytical skills and real-world problem solving.

How will SBPSD prepare for the Common Core?

As an educational organization we are in the initial stages of one of the most significant transformations – Common Core State Standards. Over the next three years we will focus time, talent, and training on moving from having an awareness of CCSS to a district wide level of sustaining implementation and capacity for all students. In the 2012-13 school year, all teachers were introduced to the major shifts in the English-Language Arts and Mathematics standards. The main purpose was to build an awareness in starting to build a context for how the Common Core Standards were going to impact instructional practice. Meaningful conversations were held at the school site and at grade level meetings to build an understanding of ways in which instruction would be strengthened by making a shift in the type of instruction provided to every student.

IN 2013-14 work will continue to move district instruction in transition to greater implementation of CCSS. As the district continues to strategically take action about CCSS, pre-school through eighth grade teaching and administrative staff will receive in depth professional development on the major instructional shifts in all content areas. This training will be provided by teachers of the District who have been helped to prepare the professional development. Time will be scheduled by use of the minimum day dismissal Thursdays twice each month and supportive coaching taking place by school principals. Teachers teaching teachers is one element of insuring that there is sustaining implementation and capacity when it comes to use of the Common Core State Standards.

In 2014-15 work will continue to implement CCSS on a comprehensive scale in the district. Literacy in the content areas, integration of technology across the content areas, and integrated writing across all content areas will be refined. In Math, refining content shifts, refining and sustaining instructional practices for all learners (English Language Learner, Special Needs students, Gifted and Talented students) will be continued.

In 2015-16, it is planned to have sustaining capacity in the District by insuring that ongoing professional development, identifying and purchasing aligned instructional materials, and integrating technology throughout the school curriculum takes place.

Coupled with this work is additional attention to the way in which students are assessed to be proficient. A greater use of technology to take tests, complete project based learning, and broadening “how” the school reports to families will be addressed. To prepare students to be successful they also need support at home. To help families better understand the shifts in instruction and learning we will use this website and other communications tools to keep families updated on this major transformation. In time, there will be new report cards to inform families of student progress. These new report cards will be developed by our district’s teachers over the next few years and shared with families prior to being fully used.