What are the Common Core State Standards?

The Olathe Public Schools, along with all of the school districts in the state of Kansas, are embarking on a journey toward Common Core State Standards (CCSS). CCSS are a national effort to align states across the country with a common framework for identifying what students need to learn in the core areas: English Language Arts, Math and eventually Science and Social Studies. The standards include rigorous content and application of knowledge to prepare students to be college and career ready.

Kansas districts are currently working toward implementing CCSS in English Language Arts, and Math by the 2013-14 school year. Common standards for Social Studies and Science are expected in the future. For the Olathe Public Schools, this is a journey that builds upon the standards the district currently has in place. District staff has been working on this CCSS process for the past two years in preparation for the changes.

It is important to understand what the CCSS are not. They are not prescribed lessons that teachers must teach, nor do they dictate specific textbooks or instructional materials that must be used. The CCSS framework also does not dictate the teaching strategies a teachers uses in the classroom.

In the Olathe Public Schools, CCSS will build upon the strong work currently being done in the district. The district has been aligning with state standards for curriculum and instruction. The CCSS will focus and align standards on a national level; this helps our district and other districts in the state share ideas and promotes collegiality. In addition, the CCSS will provide consistency among states.

The English Language Arts standards will have an increased emphasis on the reading of complex literary and informational texts throughout every core subject. The Math focus will have a significant emphasis on depth of conceptual understanding to enhance skill development. Across the board, the standards are aligned with college and work expectations, to best "prepare students for their future," the district vision.

"We see the positive aspects to the Common Core State Standards," said Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski. "We anticipate the alignment will strengthen the outstanding educational opportunities our students have. These standards will provide our teachers with a framework to continue the high quality educational experience in the Olathe Public Schools. We are fortunate to have district staff and teacher leaders analyzing the Common Core Standards determining how they can positively impact the learning opportunity for our students."