Saint Elizabeth Parish School has met the 12 Standards of the Middle States Association, and will be recommended for accreditation to the Middle States Commission on Elementary & Secondary School board. For more about the Middle States Association, click here.
The Common Core State Standards for Pennsylvania has been adapted as the basis for our curriculum. The purpose of the Common Core State Standards is to increase rigor in learning and to achieve higher levels of thinking in all students from Kindergarten through Grade 12, nationally. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia adopted the CCSS for implementation in the 2011-2012 school year. The Commonwealth of PA adopted them on July 2, 2010 and most school districts will begin implementation in 2012.
Currently the CCSS are written for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. ELA includes literacy in social studies, science, and technical studies. The goal is for all students to be college and career ready. The CCSS promotes focus and coherence in instruction and assessment; access and acceleration; literacy (a shared responsibility for all teachers) while leveraging "shared" standards, increasing expectations, with teamwork and collaboration. The CCSS will impact every area of the teaching and learning including: curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development. For more information about the CCSS, click here.
English Language Arts
The CCSS for ELA are cross-disciplinary for Grades K-5; for Grades 6-12 the ELA includes literacy in social studies, science, and technical studies. The four components of the ELA standards are: reading, writing, language, and speaking & listening. There are 10 areas in reading and writing and 6 areas each in language and listening & speaking. Media requirements are blended throughout the CCSS.
The foundational skills in reading are critical and continue to grow through fluency. Reading includes fiction, non-fiction, and technical reading. Writing is done routinely and often across the curriculum to include arguments, explanatory/informative texts, and narratives. The language components include the conventions of the English language and vocabulary focusing on determining the meanings and nuances of words. Speaking and listening includes day-to-day purposeful academic speaking and listening and formal presentations including the use of technology.
There are two components in the mathematical standards: standards for mathematical practice and standards for mathematical content.
Standards for mathematical practice include: 1) making sense of problems and persevere in solving them; 2) reasoning abstractly and quantitatively; 3) constructing viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others; 4) modelling with mathematics; 5) use of appropriate tools strategically; 6) attending to precision; 7) looking for and making use of structure; and 8) looking for and expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.
The standards for mathematical content are a balanced combination of procedure and understanding. They are presented at each level for Grades K-8. These particular standards will be familiar and include: counting and cardinality; operations and algebraic thinking; ratios and proportional relationships; number system; number and operations in base ten and fractions; measurement and data; statistics and probability; expressions and equations; functions; and geometry.
Implications of the CCSS at Saint Elizabeth Parish School
Saint Elizabeth's faculty has been increasing the rigor of teaching and learning with an emphasis on religion, rigor, relevance, relationships, and reflection (RRRRR). This will continue as we implement the CCSS. In Kindergarten, the CCSS is able to be implemented without much preparation as the students are new to the system. In the other grades, teachers will align the curriculum with what has been previously taught with new concepts identified from the CCSS. The key advances will be increased text complexity with a balance of literature and informational texts. In writing, there will be an emphasis placed on argument and informative/explanatory writing, and writing about sources. Speaking and listening will be assessed both formally and informally throughout the year. And in language the emphasis will be on developing the general and domain-specific vocabulary.
Students will experience more than paper and pencil tests, assessment will be varied. Teachers have been using rubrics with the students in every area. Teachers will employ various types of formative assessments in order to see how well the learning is going. Summative assessments may be fewer and more diversified than in previous years.
Teachers will be including various strategies that will helps students to learn. Some of the changes with differentiating instruction to assist students in learning skills, creating interest, teaching and using thinking skills, and using less repetition.