Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig recently praised the Long Beach Unified School District for providing a comprehensive and strategic blueprint for implementing Common Core standards.
In an article titled "Coherent and sequenced curriculum key to implementing Common Core standards," Honig notes that the Common Core State Standards tell what students should master, but they are not a curriculum. The article for EdSource warns that jumping from standards to creating lesson plans misses a crucial middle step of developing a coherent curriculum.
“The absence of this more complex work of creating a local curricular framework for the district, which informs the sequence and breadth of instruction (usually referred to as ‘scope and sequence’) will result in weak implementation of Common Core,” Honig states.
“Thus, many effective districts are developing their own curricular frameworks to support the more complex instruction envisioned by the standards. For example, Long Beach’s scope and sequence documents provide a comprehensive blueprint for strategically sequencing and operationalizing the grade-level/course standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics,” continued Honig, who is now chairman of the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission.
Some of the critical attributes of Long Beach’s scope and sequence document are units laid out in a sequence by theme/title; an indication of how much time to spend on each unit; a narrative description of each unit explaining its focus and purpose; a description of the standards to be assessed for each unit; and the reading level range of the texts used in each English unit.
Honig also lists a number of other resources to help in developing a coherent curriculum to implement the Common Core standards.
Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts across the nation worked together to establish the Common Core standards, a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English and math that states voluntarily adopt. Forty-five states, including California, have adopted the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared for college and careers.
Learn more about the Common Core standards at LBUSD's Common Core website, which includes resources for parents, students and teachers.