In December the Boards of Education voted to accept the revised recommendations for additions to the Common Core Standards that were adopted in July. Once all of the recommendations were approved and voted on, the new document became our Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy.
While we now have all the pieces in place, those pieces must be integrated and the final form sent off to the copy editor for printing. Once the final version has been assembled, it will be available electronically at our ESE website. In his memo of December 10, 2010, Commissioner Chester outlines the history of the process, provides a summary of the public comment on the proposed additions, indicates other relevant additions such as a glossary, updated guiding principles, and updated author lists, and explains a process for moving from the current MCAS to an assessment using the new standards. At the end of the memo, he enclosed the then draft of the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy. You may access these documents at http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/docs/1210/item1.html?printscreen=yes& .
I have heard from several districts that they want to begin working on or planning for the implementation of the new Framework. In the Office of Literacy and Humanities we have begun working on tools to support Massachusetts' educators in learning about and implementing the new Framework. Our colleagues in the Math Office are doing similar work. We hope to have some tools ready by the end of January. Sometime in the summer we plan to bring groups of teachers and others together to work on models of curriclum guides and maps. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, I suggest you read Appendix A available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/commoncore . In it you will find explanations of the research that informed development of the Common Core Standards, information on text complexity, and the ways that Lexile levels will be increased to meet the increasing demands of reading and writing in the 21st Century. I found much of it very interesting and enlightening and I think that eventually districts may want all teachers to have the background knowledge that Appendix A provides. I believe that it will be helpful in understanding how instruction will need to change in order to meet the expectations for student independence and proficiency that the new standards require.
This is truly an opportunity for all of us to work together on behalf of all of the students in the Commonwealth.