• What will our students need to know and be able to do in 2026?  This is the year our current kindergarten students will graduate from high school.  At the rate our world is rapidly changing it is predicted that these children will have 10-15 different careers by the time they are 35.  We also know that 80 percent of the country's jobs are in the service industry.  This is a big change from the largely manufacturing economy of fifty years ago.  How does a school system prepare students to succeed in this new global economy?
      In 2010 new educational standards called Common Core State Standards were adopted by 45 states.  The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an effort designed to improve educational outcomes for students by developing a set of common, internationally-benchmarked academic standards in mathematics, English language arts, and science for students in grades K-12.  The goal is to give students a curriculum that allows them to study fewer concepts at a deeper level.
      Beginning in 2014, students will be given a new standardized test which determines whether they are meeting expectations.  This will replace our current ISAT given each year in March.
      In additional to placing an emphasis on the Common Core State Standards core knowledge, we are infusing additional skills into our curriculum to prepare students for a future that is undefined.  These skills are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  By infusing the 3 r's (reading, writing, and arithmetic)with the 4 c's (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity), we will be working to prepare students for their future; a future that will allow our students to succeed in life, citizenship and work. 
      If you are interested in learning more about District 117's transition plan to the Common Core State Standards and about the standards themselves the links below can provide you with additional information.
      Melissa Murphy
      Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning