Common Core Information

 SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE

As an employee of GFPS, you may get questions about the Common Core. As with any new initiative, a lack of information can lead to misinformation. Additionally, critics will often speak of it with authority but without the actual facts of the matter. In order for you to know the details of this initiative for GFPS and in order for you to know the difference between the facts and myths, please see below for more information:

• GFPS did not purchase Common Core. The Common Core is a set of standards formally adopted by the Montana Board of Public Education in the same fashion that previous standards were adopted to include public review and comment. These newest standards address math and English Language Arts (ELA) and they were developed to ensure all US students are held to consistent expectations that will prepare them for college and career. To find out more about the Common Core, please see:
o The official Common Core website: http://www.corestandards.org/
o The Montana standards for ELA: http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/CCSSO/11NovELACommonCoreGradeband.pdf
o The Montana standards for math: http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/CCSSO/11NovMathCommonCoreGradeband.pdf
o This 14 minute webinar: http://opi.mt.gov/Streamer/Supt/Standards/
o This webpage which has links to lots of information. You can select from a variety of roles to customize the information for you: http://opi.mt.gov/Curriculum/montCAS/MCCS/index.php
o This document sets forth the facts surrounding several myths: http://opi.mt.gov/PDF/CCSSO/13July-Myths-vs-Facts.pdf
• GFPS teachers and staff worked together to develop curriculum in the areas of math and ELA which were adopted by the Great Falls Board of Trustees after providing opportunities for public review and comment. You can view the curriculum documents that outline what students are expected to know, understand and be able to do at these links:
o http://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/content/mathematics
o http://www.gfps.k12.mt.us/departments/curriculum/ela
• GFPS purchased math materials and textbooks to support the teaching of the new curriculum. GFPS periodically updates textbooks and materials and annually budgets for those expenditures. To date, new ELA materials have not been purchased.
• GFPS has provided staff development in the areas of math and ELA to help teachers deliver the new curricula. GFPS budgets for staff development costs associated with new and improved pedagogy. The goal is always to increase student achievement.
• There are several legitimate organizations that have published information about the Common Core Standards. Here are just a few:
o The National PTA: http://www.pta.org/advocacy/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3894
o The Data Quality Campaign: http://opi.mt.gov/PDF/CCSSO/DQC-Data-Facts-Parents-and-Public.pdf
o Education Northwest: http://educationnorthwest.org/webfm_send/1106
As you can see, the amount of factual information is plentiful. If you need further information, Curriculum Director Chris Olszewski can be a great resource for you. I am confident that the new Montana standards and the new GFPS curriculum will help our vision come true: All kids engaged in learning today…for life tomorrow.

Take care. Be Safe. Stay well.
Tammy