The Scotch Plains Fanwood Board of Education unanimously approved its curriculum updates for the 2012-2013 school year on Thursday night's board meeting, the second year of the district's rollout of the state's new standards.
Department heads from Language Arts, Mathematics and Science provided the board with an overview of how the state standards, which were launched in 2010, will affect the district's curriculum.
"I would like issue my thanks to the curriculum supervisors becuase they really are moving our curriculum forward," said schools Superintendent Margaret Hayes.
One of the goals of the state's Common Core Standards, issued in 2010, is to produce fewer standards - there are now 42 at each level compared more than 100 previously. The standards are also meant to be clearer.
With Language Arts the new standards represent a shift in strands from 2004 from reading, writing, speaking, listening and media literacy to reading literature, reading informational, writing, speaking and listening and language.
For example, in 2004, the standards asked that students produce written work and oral work that demonstrate comprehension of informational materials. The 2010 standards ask students to determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text and to provide an objective summary. Finally, the new standards add "text complexity" as a focus in reading, and writing "for a range of tasks, purposes and audiences."
"The design of the standards spiral and depend throughout the grades, bounded by anchor standards," said, Jocelyn Demarest, language arts supervisor. The Reading Anchor Standard, for example, will analyze "how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text."
In Mathematics, the shift in curriculum standards and strands move from high level “number and numerical operations” to new specific strands to address number and operational standards in fraction, the number system, number and quantity and Geometry concentrations per grade level. Former strands of Patterns and Algebra are now expressed in strands focused on mathematic concentrations of algebraic thinking, proportional relationships, expressions and equations and statistics and probability, for example based on grade levels.
"Generally the standards add increased clarity and specificity,” said John Veninger the district’s K-12 mathematics supervisor.
The mathematics implementation will take place in three phases, Bennenger said, with phase one addressing K-2 for the 2011-2012 school year, phase two addressing grades 3-5 or the 2012 or 2013 school year and phase three is grades 6-8, or the 2013-2014 school year.