Happy New Year! I want to take this opportunity to wish you, your families, your students, and your school communities a safe, healthy, and happy 2012. As we embark on a new year, New York continues to be a leader in education reform. The role you play in your classrooms isthe critical element in our state’s reform efforts.
Our work in teaching and learning is now guided by the Common Core Learning Standards. These standards are driving twelve “shifts” in instruction – six shifts in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and six shifts in Mathematics. You can find a concise list of the shifts and aseries of short videos about them on the EngageNY.org website.
This Spring semester, we have asked all teachers in the state to teach at least one unit that is aligned to the Common Core. You can work in teams to think through the ways each shift should impact a unit of instruction and plan these learning experiences together. You also could adopt or augment one of our curriculum exemplars. In every math classroom (or any classroom where math plays a significant role), the Common Core calls for us to create classroom time to dive deeply into the math fluencies and applications necessary for every student to reach deep understanding of a priority math concept. In every ELA classroom (or any classroom where literacy plays a significant role), the Common Core calls for thoughtful learning experiences around rigorous texts – you should conduct close readings of those texts with your students and ask deep and thought-provoking, evidence-based questions about the texts to facilitate evidence-dependent conversations and build students’ ability to marshal arguments about the texts.
Please be sure to visit EngageNY.org, which we offer as your go-to website for teaching and learning resources. In addition to the helpful materials on the website now, more will be on the way in the coming months. Curriculum units, exemplar videos, and professional development resources will all be available on EngageNY.org and will be aimed at supporting the statewide implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards.
We designed EngageNY.org specifically for you: it is an evolving, collaborative platform for educators. As the Regents’ reform agenda moves forward across the state, we want you to be able to access and share resources that work for you. If you have questions about the Common Core Learning Standards, check out the “Get Started” page on EngageNY.org. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know by signing up and commenting at the website itself or by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do every day to serve your students and for your continued commitment to improving education in New York State.
Dr. John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED