Lonoke Public School District

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Common Core State Standards for Arkansas
 
The Lonoke School District has been and is implementing the Common Core State Standards. We have been transitioning for over five years now from Arkansas State Standards to Common Core Standards. Common Core Standards are standards that are deeper, broader, and take a more hands-on and problem-solving approach to learning that places more emphasis on critical thinking skills and effective communication skills. . One of the goals of Common Core is to provide consistency from state to state in all classrooms. It is designed for students to gain more in depth mastery of knowledge and skills so that the students can succeed and compete in college and the workforce. The Common Core State Standards were developed by teachers, administrators, other educators, and parents. Teachers still get to create their lessons but follow the standards for what students should know at each grade level.
 
Arkansas, in the years past, had more state standards than other states. We now have fewer standards to cover but must go deeper with our teaching strategies so that our students can grasp the concepts of the learning that is taught. The standards cover reading, writing, listening, and language. Students read more non-fiction materials and are expected to read with more complexity. Students perform more writing in all classes and participate in critical thinking activities, where they must support evidence and state opinions and ideas from their reading. Students also participate in research and projects. Students give more oral presentations and gather information. Students will work more increasingly complex math concepts and are expected to make sense of problems and reason abstractly. Students will construct valid arguments and critique others’ reasoning’s. Students will also apply their learning to real-world problems and identify and use patterns in solving problems.
 
This year our students are transitioning from the Benchmark Test to the PARRC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) Test.  This test will be given twice this school year; once in the early spring and once in the late spring. There will be a performance task portion of the test which is the first part of the exam. The students must create a product for this section of the exam. The second test is more of a traditional standardized test format.
 
We have been equipping our students with more technology to be able to be better prepared for the testing. The school board has approved more technology funds to be spent by the district in order for our students to be more prepared. The administration, faculty, and staff are working to implement technology plans and goals in order to utilize, train, and equip classrooms with the appropriate resources to ensure success for all students. Our students are testing on-line this school year to give them more practice for when they are testing for PARRC.
 
We are seeing growth in our students from performance tasks and the students are enjoying the interactive involvement with the technology which these standards have brought about for our school system. If you have any questions, please feel free to schedule an appointment with your child’s teacher or administrator.
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