What Elementary School Parents & Guardians Need to Know
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provide a practical way to prepare children for the challenges
of a constantly changing world – by learning step-by-step the real-world skills they need for career and
college. Like an orchestra learning a challenging new symphony, bringing these standards to life in our
schools will take time and energy, and costs that must be managed over time. These standards are
intended to provide all students regardless of geographical location with the same sheet music – that is
the clear goals of career and college readiness.
What are the 6 Key Shifts in the Math Standards?
1. Focus: learn more about fewer, key topics
2. Build skills within and across grades
3. Develop speed and accuracy
4. Really know it, Really do it!
5. Use it in the real world
6. Think fast AND solve problems
Will There Be New Tests for the New Standards?
Yes, Vermont is a governing member of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The
consortium is developing new tests that will measure student progress toward career and college
readiness. The new assessment will be administered in the spring of 2015. You may learn more about the
new tests at: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/parents-students/
How Will the Transition to the Common Core State Standards Impact Communication with
During the 2012-2013 school year we implemented a new math report card at Kindergarten and Grade 1.
This past summer teachers with support from the BSD Curriculum Office and The Vermont Math Institute
revised the report card for grades 2-5. These new report card template is part of a pilot and is intended
reflect our shift to the Common Core. A new tool for reporting to families is a necessary step as we revise
our curriculum and instructional practices. To review the updated report card templates visit: BSD K-5
Report Cards (www.bsdvt.org – select Curriculum Department).
Common Core Resources for Parents:
Council of the Great City Schools Parent Roadmaps: http://www.cgcs.org//site/Default.aspx?PageID=244
National Parent Teachers Association Guides http://pta.org/parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2583
Video Overview of the Common Core Standards (3 minutes) http://vimeo.com/51933492
RE: School Calendar for 2013-14
Burlington School District administration has been examining ways to increase student achievement. Using the Vermont Agency of Education recommendations for restructuring our schools, it is clear that students would benefit from teachers spending regular, ongoing, dedicated time to review student data and adjust instruction accordingly.
We are examining all options of when this work can occur, and have successfully piloted an early release day, with child-care options, at Hunt Middle School and the Sustainability Academy. For example, at SA the student day is extended by 15 minutes four days a week, and students are dismissed one hour early on Wednesdays, with child-care options for that hour in the school. In this way, there is no net loss of instructional time, and, if parents wish, children are still supervised during the early release. Teachers then have a two-hour uninterrupted block of time to work in teams and review student data, instructional methods and adjust and align instruction.
We are exploring whether this option of a one hour release once a week can work across the district as a whole. We are also looking at how to accommodate child-care and after-school programming needs so that parents would continue to have full coverage for their children in the mid-to-late afternoons.
When we have addressed all these possible scheduling issues and determine the best option with coverage for all students, we will bring more information to you.