An important letter to Parents/Guardians concerning Common Core State Standards

We know a multitude of factors go into a child’s success in school. At a minimum, academic success takes dedicated teachers, hardworking administrators, adequate resources, and a rich curriculum.

Parents and caring adults, as their child’s first and most important teachers, also play critical roles by supporting their child’s academic life. To do this key job, parents/guardians must know what their children are expected to learn by the end of each academic year. Until now, understanding and tracking clear expectations has been a difficult task. The academic standards our students must meet seem to change constantly, vary widely from state to state, and often are poorly understood by teachers and administrators…let alone you as a parent or guardian.

Fortunately, two years ago, state governors from across the country signed on to the Common Core State Standard Initiative (CCSSI). This initiative, at last, establishes a single, clear set of K-12 mathematics and English-Language Arts standards that 46 states have voluntarily adopted. Drawn from the best models within the U.S. and the world, these standards ensure our nation’s children will one-day graduate from high school ready for college and/or a career.

The Common Core Initiative was spearheaded originally by the Council of Chief of State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in a unique grass-roots effort. These standards reflect the collaborative work of educators, researchers, and experts in the community. They were intensely scrutinized and informed by thousands of public comments. Teachers played a key role in the development process from day one, ensuring that the standards reflect the realities of the classroom. Since work began, the standards have undergone a thoughtful and rigorous drafting process and a robust public comment period in order to maximize their practicality and effectiveness (over 10,000 people commented on the draft standards).

These standards do not tell teachers how to teach. They do not attempt to override the unique qualities of each student and classroom that make learning fun and interesting. They are understandable, basic, acceptable to parents and the individual communities, and affordable for district budgets. School will not dramatically change because of these standards, nor will teachers and students be engaged in radically different education processes. These standards simply establish a strong foundation of knowledge that all students need for success after graduation. It is up to schools and teachers to decide how to put the standards into practice and measure student progress. Over time, the standards will increase the efficiency of our education system by providing states with a greater opportunity to share experiences and best practices. This will allow important and often costly undertakings, such as curriculum and assessment development, to be streamlined, so that states do not have to separately invest time and money toward accomplishing the same goals.

Parents/guardians can help support their child and school through the implementation of CCSI by reinforcing schoolwork at home. For example, you will notice in English-Language Arts, the new Core Curriculum focuses on more informational reading passages. Reading more non-fiction (newspapers, magazines, etc.) will be an immense help to your children in all grade levels. The Math Core Curriculum will allow our students to learn math at a more complex level at a younger age. Even so, math facts continue to be learned best by repetition, through drill and practice.

Raising standards is a doable challenge that will have great payoffs for learning. With the Common Core State Standards, our district will have the opportunity to work toward graduating all students from school, fully prepared for success in college and careers. We will be able to contribute our talent and best learning skills to raise the bar of success for all American children.

To this end, ______(your school district here)_________ will be committing resources to training teachers and aligning curriculum. In return, your child will be ensured a quality education that prepares them for college and/or the competitive job markets of the future.

To learn more about the Common Core State Standards, please visit our district website, ______(district website) _______for complete, reader friendly, information about Common Core State Standards. You also may find the central Common Core website useful: http://www.corestandards.org/.

Thank you for your support of, and engagement with, __________ Schools. We are grateful for your partnership.

Sincerely,