Explaining the Common Cure curriculum

March 27, 2013 Denise Romano
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Since more and more students graduating high school are unprepared for college and the workplace, school systems across the country are rolling out a Common Core curriculum.

District 20 Superintendent Karina Costantino explained to parents at the district’s Community Education Council meeting held at P.S. 682 on Wednesday, March 20 that the Common Core changes in the way math and reading are taught.

“Instructional shifts” in the way literacy is taught include: read as much non-fiction as fiction; learn about the world by reading; read more challenging material closely; discuss reading using evidence; write non-fiction using evidence and increase academic vocabulary.

“Instructional shifts” in math include: learning more about less; build skills across grades; develop speed and accuracy; really know it, really do it; use it in the real world and think fast and solve problems.

The Common Cure curriculum will come to light in this year’s standardized English Language Arts and math tests. Costantino said that she is aware that grades will drop, but it is not a cause for concern.

“It’s rigorous, longer and going to push your children’s thinking,” Costantino said.  “Children should enter college ready to take off…and start their career paths. We are raising the bar as high as we can raise it.

“Practical application of knowledge is key,” she went on. “If they absorb and go into the work force as productive citizens, they apply everything they learn in school. That’s the common core in a nutshell.”

District 20 has been putting Common Core pilot programs in schools since 2009.

“Teachers are already receiving training. There are coaches that specifically come to the school to train for this,” Costantino explained.

The superintendent also noted that District 20 has the most number of students accepted to specialized high schools in the borough. Citywide it is second to only District 3, which encompasses the tony Upper West Side of Manhattan.

“The good news is, everyone wants to come to District 20 and the bad news is everyone wants to come to District 20,” Costantino said. “We are in this together. This is a new initiative and we will not be isolated.”

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