Sample Letters

Sample Parent Letter

Dear Parent or Guardian,

We are happy to announce that over the next few years, you will notice some changes to instruction and testing in your school that will directly impact your child.  It is essential that you know about these changes and what resources are available to help you support your child.

In (CCSS state adoption date), (State Name) adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  These Common Core Standards are a set of learning expectations for our students that will prepare them for success in college and a future career.

Common Core State Standards were developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, and education experts. (State Name) is one of 46 states plus U.S. territories that have adopted the CCSS.  The standards were developed out of a partnership between the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. They are not an initiative of the federal government. 

These newly adopted standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn in K-12 math and language arts.  While there are many similarities between the existing (State Name) standards and the CCSS, you might notice changes in what content is emphasized and the grade in which the content is taught. 

The purpose of adopting the CCSS is not simply to align with other states, but rather to raise the bar for learning in all grades to ensure that our students are receiving a relevant and rigorous education.  The adoption of the CCSS means that your child will be better prepared to meet the demands of college and/or the workplace in the 21st century. 

For additional information please go to (information source here).  In addition, the National PTA has organized resources to help parents support their child.  Information can be found at www.pta.org/common_core_state_standards.asp. If you have additional questions as to how this might impact your child's education, please feel free to contact me.

Respectfully,

Your School Principal


Sample Legislator Letter

Dear State Legislator,

(State Name) students deserve a high quality education that prepares them for college and the jobs of the future. (State Name) regularly updates its learning standards so that our students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills for success in college and careers. The most recent revision of learning standards in (State Name) is reflected in communication arts and mathematics, by the process to adopt the Common Core State Standards.

The purpose of this letter is to provide a brief history of (State Name)’s journey toward adoption, to give you specific information on the standards, and to convey the positive influence they are having in classrooms.

After intense study, discussion, and examination by (State Name), educators chose to update their standards in English/language arts and mathematics with the Common Core State Standards content in 2009.

Throughout the process, drafts were published and comments solicited. Close to (Number) (State Name) citizens provided feedback to the Common Core development group as the standards were being written. State content consultants for both English/language arts and mathematics reviewed each draft to ensure that the grade level requirements aligned to (State Name) standards. In short, the Common Core State Standards were written by practitioners and content experts in many states including (State Name).

These standards were not commissioned by the federal government, nor were they written by federal employees. The State Board of Education in most states formally adopted the standards in June 2010.

What are the Common Core State Standards?
“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....”
- Common Core Mission Statement

The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum. (State Name) school districts will continue to choose or design their own challenging curriculum and to determine the best methods for implementation.  Academic standards simply set expectations and identify what all students should know and be able to do.

Because Common Core State Standards were created to study fewer things in greater depth, teachers can help students to engage in rigorous, complex thinking activities. Common Core State Standards also prescribe learning in a sequential order. Students will be asked to learn basic concepts and then apply their learning across subject areas and grade levels.  Lessons will build upon each other both during the school year and as students pass through grade levels.
Incorporating Common Core State Standards into instruction is intended to prepare students for success: to enter post-secondary education without remediation; to successfully complete other post-secondary options, such as internships or apprenticeships; and to enter the workforce possessing the tools they need.

Additional advantages include the following:

  • The Common Core State Standards are internationally benchmarked. They are designed to prepare our students for a global economy.
  • Adopting the Common Core State Standards provides (State Name) teachers, and eventually students, a nationwide network for collaboration.
  • Teachers will continue to create lesson plans and tailor instruction to the unique needs of the students in their classroom.
  • Using Common Core State Standards benefits families who move from state to state (especially military families). The standards provide consistent learning goals for all students regardless of where they live so that when children move from one state to another, they will stay on track in school, making the transition of moving more seamless for both students and teachers.
  • Over the past three years, teams of teachers have worked to create materials, professional development, and curriculum to support districts in their move toward the more rigorous standards. These teachers represented all parts (State Name) and included those who have been recognized at the district and state level for their excellence.

 

Possible quotes for the letter:

“Common Core State Standards bring a new level of rigor and relevance to our classroom. Learning will include connections to the real world reflect the current and future skills our students will need for success in college and careers.” - Name of Teacher, School District

“Common Core State Standards is a motivator for the creation of meaningful assessments and curriculum. Using Common Core Standard means: our students will be able to successfully compete  with students from other states, and other countries, when it comes to being ready for college and professional career opportunities.” - Name of Teacher, School District

“Common Core State Standards reinforce an expectation that writing and math will be emphasized across the local curriculum. Our students will have the key skills they need to be successful in whatever field they enter.“ - Name of Teacher, School District

Educators across (State Name) are seeing the transformational nature of the Common Core State Standards as their students gain critical thinking and reasoning skills. We would be happy to provide you additional information on the Common Core State Standards. We believe these standards are a critical step in helping (School District Name) succeed in its mission to give all our students the best possible education possible.

Respectfully,

(Your Name)