The presentation took place in the library where over 120 parents were in attendance. Interim high school principal, Dr. Aaron Peralta, introduced the central concepts of Common Core. These included the four C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. He assured that these four facets of learning would be present in Math, History/Social Sciences, and English.
The curriculum was created with input from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, principals, teachers, and representatives from the University of California, Irvine. Before handing the presentation off to the teachers in charge of each of those subjects, Peralta argued for Common Core over the current curriculum, stating that “our students have been passive learners.”
Common Core’s application to History and Social Sciences was jointly explained by Dr. Jerry Howell and Jo-Marie Hayes*. Like English, more documents will be integrated into everyday lessons for students. These forms of text are referred to as “source documents”, which seek to provide better insight for students and provide further historical context. Using these documents students will be asked not just who did what and when, but why they did it. Students will also be analyzing documents to see which sources are credible.
The biggest change out of the subjects would be seen in math. Racine Cross, told the parents how there would be new courses offered. Classes such as Geometry, Algebra I, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus will be transformed into Math I, Math II, and Math III. The new classes will be integrated with all the different topics combined.
Cross further stated that the curriculum was shifting from procedural instruction to conceptual teaching. This new teaching will hopefully allow students to explain how they got to their answer, rather than deriving the solution from memory.
With the new techniques applied in teaching math, Cross is excited, stating, “I finally get to teach kids why math is cool and fun not just rules and procedures.”
*A previous version of the article stated that Sandie Soldin helped present the social studies portion alongside Jerry Howell. This was done by Jo-Marie Hayes. The error has been corrected.