By Tom McFarland Ò MGES Principal In the next few months teachers throughout the Morgan School District will be participating in statewide academy classes learning about the implementation of the new Utah State Common Core Educational Standards. Starting in the fall of 2011 our teachers will be teaching the new K Ò 12th grade language art requirements along with the new math requirements for 6th and 9th grade students. New math requirements for the rest of the grades will come in the fall of 2012. In the summer classes the teachers will be learning the new standards along with developing new units and methods to teach the concepts. The new standards define the skills and knowledge that students should have when they graduate from high school and these new standards will also help to prepare them for their careers and college advancement. The Language Arts Common Core Standards are more rigorous in content, along with being directed towards comprehension of knowledge through high order thinking skills. Or in other words, being able to use the education one has in the skills needed outside of the school system. There is a heavy emphasis in writing, grammar, understanding informational text, and critical thinking. This emphasis will help students move into a work force that needs people that can be competitive in our ever changing society. In mathematics the core standards will be focusing on the depth of mathematical understanding; (Does one really know why and how the math problem is solved?) As stated in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, Mathematic experiences in early childhood settings should concentrate on: (1) number sense, (which includes whole numbers, operations, and relations) and (2) geometry, spatial relations and measurement with more mathematics learning time devoted to number sense than to other topics. Mathematical process goals should be integrated in these content areas. In June 2009 the Utah State Board of Education decided to participate with 40 other states in developing a common set of state education standards that will direct what our children learn in the coming years. What is new with these standards is that the federal government had nothing to do with the writing and implementation of them. They were written in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders including: content experts, states, teachers, business leaders, school administrators, and parents. This educational initiative was started by governors throughout the nation with the idea that common education standards are needed in the United States for producing an educated work force that will help America remain globally competitive. No state was required to participate or accept the Common State Education Standards. Individuals from around the nation have supported this initiative for education. Craig Barrett, the former CEO and Chairman of the Board from the Intel Corporation states that, This voluntary state-lead effort will help ensure that all students can receive the college and career-ready, world class education they deserve. Byron Garrett, the CEO of the National Parent Teachers Association (PTA) states that, The standards form a solid foundation for the high quality education systems that states must build. If you want to learn more about the Common Core Standards here are a few web sites to visit. http://www.corestandards.org www.corestandards.org along with http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/ http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/ Please take the time to read and understand what the Core Standards really are and what impact they will have on your child’s education. Thank you for allowing your children to attend the schools in Morgan County. It is through cooperation with parents, teachers, and administrators that our children are at the top in the state of Utah.