A message from WWA Principal,
Core Knowledge and Common Core are not in direct conflict with each other. As an administrator, I am thrilled that Common Core is addressing a similar purpose for education, that all students deserve to have a structured, well thought out plan for instruction at every grade level. As a school, we will continue to follow the Core Knowledge curriculum. Yet, the standards addressed in Common Core will be covered as students navigate through their K-8 years at Woodrow Wilson Academy.
Where does the WWA Board of Directors stand on supporting the Common Core State Standards?
The BOD has the best interest of WWA students in mind. The Common Core State Standards (sometimes called “Common Core” or CCSS) is not a curriculum. The CCSS exist as a guideline only. Our curriculum best fits the needs of our students, and it did so before the standards were in place, and it will continue to do so without the need to make drastic changes.
As a Board, we can be confident that WWA is on the right track when it comes to aligning with the Common Core State Standards. No system is perfect, and time will tell how well our students do on the assessments. All of the pieces are there; it will just be a matter of how the tests translate into reality.
We are mindful of how well our students are doing, and we are confident that the curriculum works, but we are aware and flexible enough to see where needs are and to fill those gaps should they become evident.
WWA prides itself in excellence and high standards, regardless of state guidelines and the tests they require.
We need to recognize that we are fortunate to be in this position.
Q & A with the
WWA Board of Directors
Question: Are we changing our curricula to fit Common Core?
Answer: The Common Core is not a curriculum. Core Knowledge is our chosen curriculum, and we will continue to use it. In addition to Core Knowledge, we use Saxon Math, Shurley Grammar, Write Source (Middle School), Treasures Reading, and Handwriting Without Tears.
Question: This is a charter school. Don’t we have a waiver for this type of thing?
Answer: The CCSS are not federally mandated, however, they are state mandated standards, and we need to comply with those. How we do so is up to us. Our charter allows us to choose a curriculum that is different from what the Jefferson County Public School Board of Education suggests. At this time, there is no need for WWA to make any changes.
Question: Standards require testing, and our kids are already tested a lot. What will WWA do about that?
Answer: Because we are a public school, WWA is required by law to participate in state testing. To learn more about the testing we do at WWA, and more, please read the full reports presented to the Board of Directors.
Question: How will our students do on the tests designed to measure Common Core State Standards?
Answer: The assessments will be based directly on the CCSS and will be performance based. They will focus on a variety of different things, including writing effectively while analyzing text, applying skills, concepts and understandings to solve multi-step problems, reading comprehension, conceptual understanding, and mathematical fluency. They will include a range of item types, including innovating constructed response, extended performance tasks, and selected response, all of which will be computer-based.We won’t know how well our students will perform until they’ve had experience with taking the tests. As with any new set of assessments, it will take time to gather and analyze data.
Question: Has WWA ever made changes to the curriculum based on a standard?
Answer: Interestingly enough, we have. In the 4th Grade classes, WWA has always taught a unit on Colorado History. When the standards were released, we realized that although we were already teaching Colorado History, there was a gap between what we were teaching and what was being tested. We filled this need with a more robust unit on Colorado History. What should be learned from that? Standards are not something to fear. They are a guideline, and if we see a gap that needs filled, we have the flexibility to do that.
For more information about this, please read the Common Core State Standards and WWA Core Knowledge K-5 and 6-8 Combined Reports HERE, or check out the resources below.
National Core Knowledge Website –To access a sample of the grade specific curriculum, start by clicking on the Core Knowledge Sequence K-8 link in the center of the homepage. Then select An Overview of the Entire Sequence. Here, you will find links to K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 curriculum.
Shurley Grammar– Enter School Edition Site. Click on Help for Parents. From here you can select your child’s grade level to access detailed curriculum.