The Pen Argyl School Board discussed the change to the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards throughout the District at their meeting on Tuesday night. Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Margaret Petit, gave a short presentation to the Board focusing solely on the changes in the English and Language Arts portion of the Common Core Standards.

Petit will focus on the changes in Math and Technology at the School Board meetings in January and February in order to give the Board enough time to fully understand each subject and the changes associated with those subjects.

Several districts in the Lehigh Valley have already made the switch to the Common Core Standards, but everyone is expected to be teaching these Common Core Standards by the beginning of next school year. The idea behind the Pennsylvania Department of Education creating the Common Core Standards is to challenge students and prepare them more fully for college and career.

While presenting the Board with the changes to the English and Language Arts curriculum, Petit expressed significant concern about how students will do once the changes are fully phased into the district.

“There will be gaps for the students because the level of rigor and expectations is much higher and there needs to be time for the students to prepare and reach the levels that they need to reach,” said Petit.

Petit informed the Board that the English and Language Arts changes will be shared throughout each subject area including science and social studies courses. According to Petit, reading, writing, listening, and speaking instruction will be a share responsibility between each subject in order to further prepare students for the English and Language Arts Common Core Assessments.

The writing portion of the English and Language Arts changes will include more argumentative writing, increased writing across all content areas, a greater emphasis on synthesis writing and critical essays, and using text based evidence utilizing multiple sources.

Petit plans on creating a transition team to be trained in the Common Core changes beginning in January. She plans to meet with teachers throughout the district once per month, tackle one core each month, and then the teacher will practice using that core change in their classroom for the duration of the month. The next month, Petit will meet with the teachers to discuss and challenges or problems with the Common Core change and work through the issues as a group.