As Phillips, a veteran teacher of 17 years, spent the morning working on comprehension with one small group of readers after another, she never mentions the words “Common Core.” But much of the teaching technique she is using with the children is inspired by these new, ambitious national standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, which aim to encourage critical thinking and produce students who are more competitive globally.
California adopted these standards in 2010, and state officials hope to have them fully implemented by 2014-15. Field tests of new assessments pegged to the Common Core are expected to be given this spring. Meanwhile, it’s up to teachers like Phillips to take those lofty goals and make them an everyday reality.
So, for the past two years, Phillips, who has taught every grade from second to fifth, has spent a weekend a month plus some of her summer break getting extra training on how to implement the Common Core standards from experts provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District. In turn, she leads training sessions at Roscomare while road testing new ways of teaching in her own classroom.