The Common Core State Standards
The curriculum that students in New York State study in English Language Arts should be aligned to the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), New York State’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards.
These standards are significant in that they are few and deep. These are not a reiteration of old standards; rather, they represent six significant shifts in the instructional practices that will prepare our students for career and college (See Common Core Shifts.pdf). Essentially, this standard reform is a response to the gaps that exist between the abilities of our graduating high school students and the expectations and demands of college and career that await them. Essentially, the Common Core asks students to:
• Read more informational text
• Read more complex text
• Write arguments and from sources
• Use and develop literacy skills across all content areas
• Develop an increasingly sophisticated vocabulary through reading
The best place to learn more about the standards, to read them, to read the research that supports the standards, to view samples of curriculum work that are aligned to them, to view video clips, etc. is http://engageny.org/.
We are dedicated to preparing students for the demands of the twenty-first century workplace and higher learning. These require that students are able to:
• read and think critically
• write for a variety of audiences
• speak effectively
• read for pleasure in a way that is pleasurable
• read for information
• evaluate information
• work in teams
• solve problems
• employ self-direction and self-monitoring
• be creative and innovative
The learning activities that we provide for our students every day in all grades help to prepare students to be literate and successful.
Our goal is to cultivate a love of reading and writing in all of our students. Students need to practice independently the literacy skills they learn in all of their classes. Our students will work to develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers, and it is important that students identify and challenge their comfort areas in the four modalities of language (reading, writing, listening, and speaking).
At all levels, parents are encouraged to take time to share in their child's reading experiences. A shared reading experience creates opportunities to discuss literature and life. This can help students as their parents model what it is that lifelong readers do when they discuss books in meaningful and authentic ways. Similarly, parents are encouraged to review their child's writing assignments and notice their development as writers over the years.
A note on testing:
We encourage the community to measure this school district not by the ELA assessments alone, but by all the rich and varied experiences we provide for students throughout the entire school year. Success on these assessments will be a natural byproduct of our efforts to teach students to read and write critically for a variety of audiences and purposes. Students will be exposed to these tests and their formats and they will have opportunities to practice. The state assessments should be treated as another genre of reading and writing. The teachers and students will be able to deconstruct these assessments to isolate and learn the vocabulary, tasks, and skills needed to exceed New York State's expectations.
New York State Education Department ELA Assessment Page
This site is useful to learn about testing, view assessments from previous years, and New York State's ELA curriculum.