Common Core Standards

CSSU In-service Days- Common Core 

During the 2012-13 school year Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were the focus across our K-12 schools and in school districts throughout the Champlain Valley. CSSU has been following our implementation plan, begun in 2011-12 with study and planning. Throughout the 2012-13 school year we created a foundation of understanding about the Core for all CSSU professional staff and began implementation of specific Math and English Language Arts Standards. Intense study, planning and facilitating teacher workshops, and providing time for teacher teams to design and implement new units based on Common Core standards is a multi year process that will continue through 2014-15, the first year of the new national tests, SBAC. 

CSSU Common Core Implementation Plan 





Study and Plan



Build knowledge and Implement


Build knowledge and Implement


Build knowledge and Implement 

VT adoption of CCSS



CSSU Math and Literacy Coordinators and teacher leader study groups form and attend regional Math and ELA CC sessions in order to become local Common Core experts



CSSU Coordinators/ teacher leaders plan and facilitate five in-service days focused on: 


ELA Standards focus: (Informational text, text complexity, and academic vocabulary)

Math focus: Standards of Practice



Coordinator/teacher leadership group continues to provide workshops and guide team work related to CC standards during in service days 

ELA focus: Writing to Understand, informational writing 

Math focus: Content shifts and using new, aligned, math curriculum materials 


Leadership group continues to delve into ELA and Math standards & facilitate guided teacher work time during in service days

In service focus: SBAC

 Spring- SBAC




The new standards incorporate themes from current research that address shifts in content rigor and pacing (what is emphasized, at what grade) as well as new ground in instructional practice. For example, the math standards include the development of truly interactive, workshop-style math classes in which students learn math the way mathematicians do. They work on extended and complex problems, make conjectures, explain their thinking, test their hypotheses and draw generalizations and conclusions. They learn to persevere and construct viable arguments. These are called the Math Practice Standards and have been the focus of math in-service workshops in CSSU. 

The 2012-13 English Language Arts focus centered attention on three significant shifts in literacy content and emphasis: Reading Informational Text, Text Complexity and Academic Vocabulary. Each area was the topic of knowledge building workshops led by presenters, teacher leaders, and Literacy Coordinators. Teachers worked in teams to write new units that embed the new standards. These lessons are designed for classroom implementation over the course of the next four months. To support and build collegial collaboration, shared electronic Common Core sites were developed (K-8 and 9-12) in which teaching teams across CSSU house their new work for all to access. Building this repository of Common Core aligned lessons will be an ongoing product of the work accomplished during in-service days over the next two years and beyond.  

Several components of our CSSU model to implement the Common Core Standards are unique. One is the development of our own leadership capacity in teachers and coordinators who attend regional Common Core study sessions and became local experts. They are our in-service planning and facilitation team. These groups worked over the summer to prepare in-service and will do the same for the coming year. 

Cultivating understanding and implementation of the Common Core Standards in our five schools is both exciting and daunting. Learning to read the Common Core document, understand the changes they require and thoroughly digest significant shifts in instructional practice, emphasis and rigor in both ELA and Math is neither a small or short-lived undertaking. We are taking a thorough and focused approach.   Working deeply and collaboratively to understand and implement several key standards at a time rather than a broad sweep of many is also a unique feature of our CSSU implementation plan. Time for teacher teams to develop new units of study is critical to the success of this effort. Research is clear that guided and focused teacher work time is a ‘driver’ in reform and improving student achievement. Providing adequate time for teachers to focus, learn, reflect and work collaboratively will usher in successful implementation of the new standards. 

Special educators, administrators and content area teachers of science and social studies are integrated with classroom teacher teams during in service. This too is a novel approach in the CCSS Implementation Plan.These diverse collaborative teams bring varied points of view and expertise together to develop differentiated Common Core aligned lessons for all learners.  

The CSSU Common Core Implementation Plan is intentional in its design to build deep understanding and implementation of the new standards and practices through hands on teacher involvement. This requires continued leadership, focus, time and resources. The first SBAC administration will be the spring of 2015 and we are actively preparing our teachers and students through this ongoing work.



Writing and the Common Core - presented by Joey Hawkins, CSSU In service, August 23, 2013 

Common Core Overview - presentation to schools 2011-12
VT Department of Education Resources
Last Modified on October 17, 2013