A Message from your Cornell Common Core Coach

A Message from your Cornell Common Core Coach:
Miesje Child, Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA)

Do you have questions about the California Common Core State Standards?

You are not alone! While the Common Core is getting lots of press time these days, polls continue to show that parents want a better understanding of what these mean means for our children in their classrooms.


California is in its implementation year of the California Common Core State Standards (CCCSS). These standards were adopted in 2010. They are our state’s version of the national Common Core standards. Currently, 45 states are at some stage of implementing these standards.

What are the CCCSS?

The creation of these national Common Core standards started in 2009 led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and The Council of Chief State School Offices representing 48 states and the District of Colombia. The Common Core standards are internationally benchmarked standards that focus on the problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills needed for 21st century college and career readiness.

You can read the actual standards for you child’s grade level at the California Department of Education’s website:


For a parent focus on the CCCSS, see the CA PTA website (Go PTA!):


CCCSS: Not the Same as the SBAC

There is a clear difference between the CCCSS and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). In the press, these two are often referred to simultaneously, yet they are not the same thing.

The CCSS are the framework for what we, CA public school teachers, teach our students in each grade. Under this framework of CCSS, we develop and purchase curriculum, choose specific teaching strategies, use ongoing assessments for daily snapshots of student performance and use end of unit assessments for a larger snapshot of where our students are in terms of the achieving the standards. Using this information, we adapt our teaching based on identified student needs. This is the work of teaching.

CCCSS and SBAC are related, but they are two separate entities. SBAC is a multistate consortium that is developing the student assessment system aligned with the CCCSS. These tests are designed to measure student progress toward college and career readiness. SBAC will be taking the place of the STAR tests that were formerly used for the same purpose.

CCCSS in Albany Elementary Schools

Last year, our major focus at AUSD elementary schools was primarily on math standards. We analyzed standards, identified needs, and reviewed and adopted new math curriculum. This year, as we implement the math curriculum, we are also shifting our focus onto English Language Arts. We will be researching best instructional practices, fine-tuning our year long planning, reworking thematic units of study, and creating new lesson plans.

CCCSS at Cornell

This year we will continue supporting student dialogue using academic language and vocabulary to explain their reasoning. We will use math talks, Problems of the Month, and our new curriculum to compare and contrast problem-solving strategies. We will be reading fiction and non-fiction carefully, using quotes from the text to prove conclusions. We are also beginning the work of integrating technology throughout the curriculum on a school-wide basis.

All of this work is what we, as Cornell teachers, as Albany teachers, have always done in the framework of effective teaching. Now we are shifting the focus of our work to the framework of the CCCSS.

Please see the newly electronic weekly Cornell Chronicle, aka “the Pinkey,” for updates on Cornell’s Common Core work.

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