imagesThe Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what K-12 students are expected to learn, so parents and teachers know what they need to do to help them. The standards reflect the knowledge and skills our children need to know in English language arts and mathematics to be successful in college and careers. In 2009, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers convened a group of leading experts to develop the standards. Currently, 45 states, 3 U.S. territories, and one district have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Pasco County Public Schools, along with schools throughout the country, will be implementing shifts in instruction in mathematics centered on a more focused set of major math concepts and skills. This will allow students time to master key math concepts and skills in a more organized way throughout the year and from one grade to the next. It also will provide a thought-provoking math content in order to engage students in solving real-world problems in a way that encourages greater interest in mathematics. 

In English language arts and literacy, students will continue to read and write. In addition to stories and literature, students will read more texts that provide facts and background knowledge in content areas including science and social studies. They will read more challenging texts and be asked more questions that will require them to refer back to what they have read. There also will be an increased emphasis on building a strong vocabulary so that students can read and understandchallenging material. 

The new standards will allow us to compare how well our students are performing in Florida to their peers in other states. This is a state-driven initiative that Florida entered into voluntarily. Our teachers and school district administrators decide what curriculum we will teach, and our state leaders will decide what assessment tool we will use to gauge student achievement. 

For more information on the Common Core State Standards, check out the following websites: