Minutes from April 28, 2015-Common Core Implementation

 Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Open Board of Directors Meeting

San Bernardino Community College District
114 S. Del Rosa Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Ron Fremont, Dick Hart, Scott Hofferber, Fran Inman, Matthew Isaac, Erik Johnson, Mark Kaenel, Al Karnig, Lowell King, Temetry Lindsey, Dale Marsden, John Mirau, Dan Murphy and Jan Remm.


Announcements:  1) Congratulations were expressed to Dr. Matthew Isaac, San Bernardino Community College District for his recent promotion to Associate Vice Chancellor.  2) At least one group opposing toll roads and the Redlands Rail have used ads in the local newspaper and are using social media to express their views.  3) A reminder that those wanting to participate in the Sacramento advocacy trip should complete and return the reservation form immediately.


M/S/P:  Minutes from April 21, 2015.


Scott Hofferber introduced Cheryl Kaenel, Redlands Unified School District (RUSD).


The Common Core was developed by building on the best state standards in the United States; examining the expectations of other high-performing countries around the world; and carefully studying the research and literature available on what students need to know and be able to do to be successful in college, career, and life.


These new standards were developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, and experts from across the country, together with state leaders. The actual implementation of the Common Core, including how the standards are taught, the curriculum developed, and the materials used to support teachers as they help students reach the standards, is led entirely at the state and local levels.


The implementation of Common Core is challenging for teachers, students and parents.  It is a different way of learning that has the following appeal:


  • It represents standards focused on developing critical learning skills instead of mastering fragmented bits of knowledge
  • More student-centered teaching with stronger elements of collaborative and reflective learning.
  • Raises expectations for all students, limited “drill and kill” test prep


The transition began in August of 2010 when the California State Department of Education adopted the standards. Since that time educators developed scope and sequence, conducted teacher training on Common Core State Standards, identified the curriculum and conducted parent outreach. Since August of 2014 RUSD has implemented the new curriculum for K-12 in both English Language Arts and Math.   They have also conducted Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) field tests for evaluating the students in the Common Core curriculum. The SBAC tests do not contain true/false and multiple choice questions but rather test writing skills and abilities with word/“story” problems.  The on-line tests have computer adaptive technology (CAT) which adjusts questions to student’s skill level as he/she takes the assessment. SBAC test results are available in weeks rather than months which also aides teachers.


Common Core learning is conceptual understanding. Students no longer memorize tricks or rules. Teachers use creative real world problems to prompt critical thinking. Students use knowledge and skills in different ways to solve these problems. Conceptual understanding allows students opportunities to discuss their thinking process and question the thinking process of their peers. This component allows them time to struggle with math and work out and test various solutions in a collaborative environment. Common Core education does not penalize or discourage incorrect answers but encourages students to explain and discuss their thinking process.


In order to be college and career ready, students will need to apply knowledge to non-routine problems in real-world, everyday situations. This also involves students applying appropriate mathematical skills without prompting.


Some of the challenges school districts face implementing and furthering Common Core achievements are:

  • Technology (computers, internet access, bandwidth)
  • Teachers and students making the switch from multiple choice to composing answers to complex and real-world problems.
  • “Fixed Mindset” vs. “Growth Mindset”
  • Finding adequate resources to teach CCSS


Cheryl Kaenel who has been an educator for over 26 years quoted that “good teaching is more a giving of right questions than giving of right answers”.

The meeting adjourned at 8:28 am.

A Q & A session followed.