Department Partners with Higher Ed to Implement Common Core

By Diann Roberts
English Language Arts and Reading Coordinator at the Idaho State Department of Education

The time is coming upon us to transition from our previous itemized state standards to the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics, and we know that collaboration with higher education is vital to the successful implementation of the CCSS in the classroom. In mathematics, the SDE already collaborates strongly with Boise State and other institutions of higher education to deliver the Mathematical Thinking for Instruction course.

In English language arts, we began discussions with the Boise State Writing project and the Northwest Inland Writing project teams earlier this year to find ways to better assist administrators and teachers in Idaho as they begin the process of CCSS implementation.

One of the results of that collaboration was the creation of summer workshops—"Transitioning to Common Core: Preparing Idaho's Students for College and Career Readiness"—that will look at lesson and unit planning, curriculum realignments, and a preview of the new Smarter Balanced assessments. These workshops, which will take place in Idaho Falls, Moscow, Boise, and Twin Falls, have been designed to give participating teams the tools they will need to return to their districts and develop plans to begin the process of strong CCSS implementation.

Our goal is to assist teachers with the "shifts" that will need to take place in the classroom and help them see that all teachers play a vital role in this successful implementation. We also encourage everyone to utilize the SDE website CCSS "ELA Tool Box" to explore the CCSS. The ELA Tool Box provides research on the CCSS, documents of support, and many links that will help districts understand and transition to the new standards in ELA.

The importance of collaboration between higher education, the State Department of Education, and all teachers and school districts across the state cannot be stressed strongly enough. The Common Core State Standards are the foundation of the 21st Century Classroom. These new standards are a strong shift from itemized standards in our classrooms to a holistic approach to the standards. Our hope is that by working together, sharing our ideas and resources, and keeping the lines of communication open, we can make the transition to using CCSS in our classrooms smooth and successful.

I hope you will join us at one of our workshops this summer. You can find more information and register here.