Common Core: What’s the Buzz About? - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Common Core: What’s the Buzz About?

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Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 5:00 am | Updated: 8:29 am, Wed Mar 19, 2014.

Bright Beginnings Charter School Explains the Unique Curriculum

There is a lot of buzz surrounding Common Core and whether it is beneficial or detrimental to students, but according to the curriculum director at Bright Beginnings, a Chandler-based charter school, Common Core is preparing our students for higher education and their careers.

“The Common Core standards were developed by educational leaders throughout the U.S. and designed to help prepare students for college and career readiness,” said Brenda Konicke, the curriculum director at Bright Beginnings Charter School. “The standards aren’t to be confused with curriculum, but are viewed more as mile markers along the rode which help us measure a student’s progress throughout the year, ensuring that each student is on the path to success.”

One of the biggest changes in the Common Core standards is mathematics and the mathematical teaching approach. Common Core focuses on developing critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills and strives to link one math concept to the next rather than teaching skills in isolation. Through Common Core, students are taught conceptual understanding of different math concepts and how to access those concepts through different perspectives, procedural skills and fluency of core functions, and how to apply their mathematical knowledge in different situations.

While Common Core is a relatively new concept, the accelerated curriculum that is the foundation of Common Core isn’t new to Bright Beginnings’ students, says Konicke. “We have always felt teaching kids how to think, reason, and make sense of mathematics was the basis of good teaching. There is so much more to mathematics than just rote learning. At its core, math is seeing relationships and patterns in everyday contexts. It has always been our goal to build math-minded kids who are prepared for high level mathematics. Common Core Standards provide a pathway to do just that”

According to surveys, most parents are concerned about Common Core implementation because it is not “traditional style” mathematics. Bright Beginnings bridges that gap by offering its parents Common Core classes that are grade level and topic specific to help parents understand the curriculum.

“We walk parents through entire Common Core lessons to show them how math needs to be built from the conceptual level to the abstract,” says Konicke. “In each class, parents tackle Common Core tasks with only the math skills that their students would know and understand, which points to how “old” methods of teaching the rote algorithm didn't provide the "sense making" that the Common Core standards and Bright Beginnings’ accelerated curriculum provides students. It’s fun to watch parents make mathematical connections they never knew existed because they weren’t given the chance to explore mathematical concepts as deeply as what is called for in the Common Core standards.”

Bright Beginnings is a top-rated charter school located in Chandler and is currently enrolling. To learn more or register your student at Bright Beginnings, visit www. bbschl.com or call 480-634-8867.

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