September 2013


Dear Parents,

In an effort to better prepare students for college and the workforce, a coherent progression of grade specific learning expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics were developed, known as the Common Core State Standards.   Benchmarked against international standards, these new standards have been implemented to ensure students across the United States of America have the same opportunities to learn at higher levels.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by the State of New York as the standards we will use to develop curriculum, plan for instruction, and as a basis for assessment going forward.  As a result, instruction and assessment will look different, as the CCSS are incorporated into curriculum.  While there are many similarities between the former New York State Learning Standards and the CCSS, these new learning standards include rigorous content with a focus on problem-solving and critical thinking skills, not solely on knowledge of particular facts.  To this end, if you have had older children already pass through the elementary grades, you will certainly notice the difference in specific instructional content and in which grade such content is being introduced.  In order to be actively engaged in your child’s learning, it is essential that you know about these changes and what resources are available to you to support your child at home.

Transition to the new ELA Common Core requires more rigor and includes a heavier emphasis on reading more informational and complex texts more carefully, discussing reading using evidence from the text, writing for more authentic purposes using evidence to justify thinking and reasoning, as well as incorporating literacy across the curriculum and developing a more in-depth academic vocabulary.  Implementation of the new Common Core Standards for Mathematics involves a new way of teaching and learning mathematics, in which students are more engaged in problem‐based learning opportunities.  They will spend more time on fewer concepts and be expected to understand “how” and “why” math works, as well as being able to “prove” their findings.  These practices rest on important processes and proficiencies, including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and making relevant real-world connections.

The CCSS inform schools of “what” to teach, but leave “how” to teach in the hands of our capable teachers. Your child’s classroom will be a cognitively challenging setting, as students are provided with increased opportunities for collaboration, conversation and problem‐solving.

The partnership between the home and school is paramount for our students’ success.  To that end, to read more specific information about the CCSS, please visit the following websites:  In addition, the National PTA has organized resources to help parents support their children.  Information can be found at

Text Box: “Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.”  Paul Ryan



Gregory J.R. Bottari,