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A Parent's Guide to Understanding the Common Core Standards
What are the Common Core State Standards? 
The Common Core State Standards communicate what is expected of students at each grade level in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening and mathematics. They set the benchmarks and guidelines for what each student should learn. These standards are designed to help assure that all students graduating from high school are prepared for college and/or the work force. They include rigorous content and higher order thinking skills. In addition, the standards match up with international standards so that our students are competitive in the global world. The implementation of the Common Core will provide a rigorous framework for Johnson County School District #1 to offer a challenging, world class education for each student. 

What are the Benefits for my Child in Reading? 
As teachers in Johnson County implement the Common Core, students will be asked to read more difficult text sooner, and discuss what they read at a higher level. For example, students in the 5th grade will be asked to "Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text."

Parent Tip: As you read with your children, ask how and why questions that encourage them to think about and compare texts. For example, read a news article on a given topic from three different sources. Ask your child to explain how the articles are alike and how they are different be discussion specific examples from the reading. 

What are the Benefits for my Child in Writing? 
Students will become college and career-ready writers by considering the task, purpose and audience while carefully choosing words, information and formats. They will progress toward having the ability to produce high-quality first draft text under a tight deadline (much like the real world!), as well as the ability to revisit and refine a writing over multiple drafts. They will write arguments to support claims, informative pieces to relate a complex idea, and narratives to develop real or imaginary events. 

Parent Tip: Practice using precise vocabulary with your child, including vocabulary specific to a content area such as science. If your child uses a word such as "good," encourage the use of "dollar" words such as "exemplary" or "high quality."

What are the Benefits for my Child in Speaking and Listening?
 
The speaking and listening standards require students to develop real life communication skills including interpersonal skills, not just skills for formal presentations. For example, 6th grade students will be asked to do the following: "Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly." 

Parent Tip: Encourage your child to support a point of view with specific reasons and information. Have them practice building on other family members' ideas. Great dinner table discussions will come from this! 

What are the Benefits for my Child in Mathematics? 
The Standards for Mathematical Practice describe the mathematical behaviors all students will develop in the Common Core Standards. These practices rest on important "processes and proficiencies" including problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and making connections. These practices will help students understand the why of mathematics and apply math skills with confidence. They will learn to apply mathematics to problems in everyday life. Asking a student to understand something means assessing their ability to explain why a particular mathematic statement is true. This is a lot more challenging than a rote process of plugging numbers into formulas. 

Parent Tip: Apply mathematics in your home in everyday situations; for example, help your 3rd grader understand fractions 25 cents is 1/4 of a dollar, 50 cents is 1/2 of a dollar, 75 cents is 3/4 of a dollar. 

When will these Changes Take Place? 
The implementation of the Common Core will take place over several years. During the past two summers and over the school year, teachers started the process of understanding the new standards and weaving them into their curriculum. The Common Core will be fully in place by the 2014-2015 school year. 

Where can I learn More About the Common Core? 
Information about the Common Core will be provided through Parent Advisory meetings and newsletters. You may also go directly to the Common Core website:http//www.corestandards.org. Also, feel free to address any questions to the building principal or to Dr. Jeanie Iberlin, the Associate Superintendent for Johnson County School District:   
307-684-9571 or jiberlin@jcsd1.us
Resources:

Common Core State Standards
Link to the Common Core State Standards initiative.