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What Teachers Are Saying about Common Core State Standards


A group of English Language Arts teachers wrote the following when asked, "What are the strengths of the CCSS and how do they benefit students?"

  • Strengths of the CCSS? The expectations are uniformly high, so it helps unify teachers in their expectations of their students and of their own teaching. They also create conversation among teachers, hopefully, using more of a common language... The benefits are hopefully that students will stretch themselves and become better readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators.
  • The strengths of the CCSS: clear articulation of high expectations for what students should be able to do at specific points in their education. Additionally, the CCSS recognize skills across content areas and identify how the areas are mutually supportive in developing those skills.
  • Strengths: The CCSS has high standards for student outcomes. By raising the bar for specific skill sets, the standards also raise the bar for soft-skill sets such as self-efficacy.
  • Strengths: It is challenging teachers and students to read for more meaning. It is providing a united set of standards so texts, books, online resources etc. are far more plentiful.
  • The greatest challenge is ... in the amount of change required to meet success. The only thing that really likes change is a wet baby.
  • The strength of the CCSS is that it sets academically rigorous expectations for all students, and appropriately scaffolds those expectations from K-12. The focus on the development of skills necessary for college and career readiness is particularly important to prepare our students for the rigors of college-level coursework.
  • Benefits: CCSS includes all disciplines. It's nice to see Encores, Specials, or Electives Teachers using the CCSS such as Speaking and Listening skills.
  • Strengths: Rigor, leads towards interdisciplinary planning and implementation by increasing nonfiction reading and increasing content area literacy, shared standards allow for shared resources, incorporating speaking and listening, 
  • Strengths- Raises the bar, Challenges students, Makes students accountable for their learning.
  • Student Benefits- More hands-on and improves student engagement. Students are more prepared for future employment and post graduate work.
The Department of Literary Arts has created district-wide Communities of Practice (CoPs) for ELA teachers in grades 6-12. These CoPs are limited to group sizes of 6-8 and are facilitated by trained teacher leaders. Teachers meet collectively in CoPs to focus on ELA CCSS, instructional strategies, and lesson study. In this way, teachers collaboratively communicate and reflect upon the strengths and challenges of the new standards and curricula while supporting one another throughout the change process. If you are a 6-12 teacher and interested in joining a CoP, please contact Dr. Melissa Wlodarczyk Hickey!
Melissa K. Wlodarczyk Hickey, Ed.D.
Director of Literary Arts
Office of Curriculum and Instruction
Hartford Public Schools
960 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
P: 860-695-8754