Preparing for Common Core underway at Glenbrook School District
Common Core State Standards
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:55AM
NORTHROOK — Glenbrook School District 225 in Glenview and Northbrook is readying instructors for significant curriculum changes that will better prepare students for college and careers, district officials said.
Common Core Standards, developed by researchers and educators, will impact grades kindergarten-12, especially in mathematics and English.
Rosanne Williamson, district assistant superintendent for educational standards, presented the national program that each state adopts Feb. 11 to school trustees.
“While this initiative requires changes in our curriculum, the work our teachers have begun will allow for a smooth transition to the new standards,” she said, adding Common Core is set for the 2014-15 school year.
Williamson and 225 teachers said Common Core emphasized critical thinking and applying concepts to test problems and assignments.
With college and careers in mind, students will build strong content knowledge, value informational evidence and use digital media — all to better understand perspectives and cultures.
Ed Solis, instructional superintendent of English at Glenbrook North High, said students will change from persuasive to argumentative writing.
“Common Core standards includes a counter argument in any kind of writing, which is happening here (in 225) already. We’ll still have persuasive writing,” he said.
He also said more nonfiction reading will be assigned to supplement fiction and core study units.
In addition, 225 teachers conducted “gap analysis” studies to better prepare eighth- and ninth-grade students in writing.
“If argumentative writing in sixth or eighth grades were forgotten about, we can sort that out later,” Solis said.
In mathematics, Robin Levine-Wissing, GBN’s instructional supervisor of math, said students will be expected to perform in high cognitive problems.
Instead of solving math addition problems, for instance, students working on building a barn with unknown square footage must try to answer not only space and cost, but provide a plan and its implementation in steps.
Trustees asked if assessing process-driven problems would be harder to grade.
“Yes, but our teachers do this already,” Levine-Wissing said.
“Teacher feedback has been positive. Writing problems has been a good exercise for them.”
Fewer topics will be taught in math providing more in-depth learning and testing will move away from multiple-choice questions.
District Superintendent Michael Riggle said some feeder schools into 225 performed academically better than others, adding informal studies have shown not much difference existed between districts.
For feeder he said, “They all have different demographics and we must look at them individually. And it’s not fair to compare GBS to GBN because of different demographics. I don’t favor that kind of comparison,” he said.