Common Core State Standards
What is Common Core?
Common Core is often misunderstood as a new curriculum. It is not a curriculum in itself, but rather a set of established standards from which curriculum is derived. Standards are necessary in education to ensure that meaningful learning is taking place across the curriculum. Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were initiated by the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State School Officers with the goal to work collaboratively across states and districts. Instead of each state having its own individual set of standards, many states have agreed to follow these new standards in order to align themselves better state to state. California has adopted Common Core State Standards and is beginning to mandate that public schools adhere to them. As a result, districts are developing curricular goals for their schools that reflect these standards. Additionally, publishers are writing textbooks to mirror these expectations so California students will meet the new standards.
Private schools, such as BCS, pay attention to the standards and traditionally use them as a starting point, but usually set the bar above the minimum state standards. For example, as the standards are written now, it is expected that schools prepare students to take Algebra I as a 9th grader. As a private school, we can follow that standard or change it if we so desire. Because our math curriculum is rigorous, many of our 8th grade students are already taking Algebra I, and our most accelerated students even take it in 7th grade. This allows some students to take Geometry in 8th grade and Algebra II in 9th grade. At BCS we consider the standards to be a minimum benchmark. We have higher goals for our students, and it is reflected in our course offerings; however, it is important to make sure that, at the very least, all students are given every opportunity to meet the minimum standard at every level.
For a more in-depth explanation of how we view and use CCSS, please click on the link below.