CCLS Training in Social Studies

Hi all,

Over the past two weeks, and continuing into April, social studies teachers at Arcadia have been working with the Common Core Learning Standards through professional development from Dr. Marijo Pearson (Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES).  The focus has been on integrating CCLS into the Social Studies content by focusing on the standards and connecting them to current best practice.

imagesCAJUIFGKOn March 5th, teachers will continue their work as they begin to explore the CCLS Standards, and work with evidence guides to plan and teach a Common Core lesson in the next few weeks.  I hope to be able to work with teachers and share in this process.  Our last two sessions will focus on text dependent questions, as well as text complexity.   More to follow soon…



9-12 Social Studies Framework Posted


Each instructional content area must include standards and frameworks that describe the knowledge and skills required for students to progress toward College and Career readiness. NYSED has taken steps to align the current social studies learning standards (United States and New York State History; World History; Geography; Economics; and Civics, Citizenship, and Government) with the requirements of the Common Core State Standards. This work has been developed in consultation with teachers and leaders in P-12 schools and higher education institutions. The draft New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework was posted in September 2012 for public review and comment at A survey was conducted during September and early October and results were reviewed by the Social Studies Content Advisory Panel in October.

At the September 2012 meeting, the Board of Regents discussed a requirement for dividing the current Global History and Geography course of study into two units of study. The Social Studies Content Advisory Panel met in October and discussed this proposal. At the November 2012 meeting, the Board directed staff to seek public input on the proposed changes. A limited survey was conducted in December and the results supported a chronological approach. This information was reviewed with the Board of Regents at the January 2013 meeting and this draft New York State Common Core 9-12 Social Studies Framework was developed accordingly (See:

The draft framework represents a chronological approach to the Global History and Geography course of study, with the first unit addressing the Neolithic Revolution to the beginnings and causes of the Industrial Revolution (approximately 1750), and the second unit beginning with the Enlightenment and continuing through modern times.

This draft framework also incorporates the Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings for the following courses: United States History and Government; Participation in Government; and Economics, the Enterprise System, and Finance. The draft framework is posted online for public review at


New Things at EngageNY


EngageNY, the state’s website that follows the changes in education surrounding the APPR process, Common Core implementation and other policies, is regularly updated.  Two of the most recent additions to the website are new SLO resources, as well as a release of the 2013 NYS test guides in ELA and Math, grades 3-8.

These guides offer insight into the changes in assessment due to the Common Core Standards implementation.  Below is a quick summary of the test guides, as well as the new SLO resources.  Check them out at the links provided as well.

New SLO Resources at EngageNY:

Videos related to the SLO process span a wide range, but for teachers, the two most appropriate videos are: Student Learning Objectives 101 for Teachers, and the recently released Students Learning Objectives 102 for Teachers.   The videos distinguish unique teaching characteristics and implications for SLOs, they include guiding questions, and provide key points for SLOs.

Here is the link:  SLO Resource Page – EngageNY

Test Guides for ELA and Math with Common Core Standards:

Even though currently these tests cover ELA and Math, grades 3-8, there are overall trends that will impact how we teach social studies in the coming years.  The Common Core implementation timeline has already started, and in the next 2-3 years, social studies regents exams will reflect these skill-based shifts.

The test guides provide educators with insight into NYS assessments.  They address the following:

1) The ELA and Math shifts demanded by the Common Core Standards.

2) How the ELA and Math Common Core assessments differ from past NYS exams.

3) The 2013 Common Core ELA and Math test content and design

4) The new short, and extended response Common Core questions.

Social studies is closely related to ELA in terms of skill development, and the new ELA Common Core assessments include the following changes:

1) All text passage will be authentic, and some will be opinionated in which students may disagree.

2) Text passage may be longer and more rigorous than on past exams.

3) ELA tests will be split between four books and administered over three days.

4) Grade 3 and 4 tests will have a shorter maximum testing time.

5) New CCLS rubrics will be used for scoring short and extended response questions.

Explore the testing guides here: Grades 3-8 Common Core ELA and Math Testing Guides


Many of us have questions about assessments from the state – What is the new format?  How do I teach my courses when I don’t know about the summative assessment?  What will the Common Core standards look like on the new exams?  As well, the SLO post-assessment for local courses are also new this year (Global 9, Citizens in Action).  Spending some time on the EngageNY website will help with these questions, and many others as the end of the year approaches.  As well, look into the EngageGreece content on our own district website (, and our librarians can also be a great resource for Common Core questions.

As usual, any questions, please email me at

New NYS K-8 Common Core Curriculum Released

NYS released the new K-8 Common Core Curriculum for social studies a few weeks ago.  Attached is the file if you’d like to look through it.  If you are familiar with Common Core, it will look very familiar to you.  My guess is that soon, more curricula will be released like this for the 9-12 grade levels as well.  It’s a huge part of the new evaluation process, so looking through it will help all of us with connections between social studies content, common core standards, and what we do in the classroom.  The document is rather large, but it does provide some basics…here the are:

  • Three major concepts provide the framework for the new curriculum: Key Ideas/Concepts, Common Core Literacy skills, and effective Social Studies Practices.
  • 5 Social Studies Standards: History of NY and US; World History; Geography; Economics; Civics, Citizenship and Government.
  • Common Core Reading Skills: Key Ideas from text; craft and structure; integrating knowledge; text complexity.
  • Common Core Writing Skills: Types of text/purpose; production of writing; research; range of writing
  • As social studies teachers, we will be expected to teaching these Common Core literacy standards as well as the key ideas and content from the NYS social studies standards.

Even if you teach 9-12, this resource will still help in understanding the connections between Common Core, NYS Social Studies standards, and what we are expected to do in the classroom.

Here’s the link:


Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget

Last Week Governor Cuomo delivered his Executive Budget. Education highlights and excerpts are below.

– Consistent with the two-year appropriation enacted in 2011-12, the 2012-13 Executive Budget recommends $20.3 billion in School Aid for the 2012-13 school year, a year-to-year increase of $805 million, or 4 percent.- School districts will not be eligible for aid increases unless they have fully implemented the new teacher evaluation process by January 17, 2013.

– High need school districts will receive 76 percent of the 2012-13 allocated increase and 69 percent of total School Aid. $250 million will be used for performance grants.

– The Executive Budget recommends improving the cost-effectiveness of the State’s school transportation program by centralizing the purchase of school buses through the use of a single State contract that is developed with advice from school districts.

– Preschool special education: Apportion all growth above each county’s share of 2011-12 school year costs equally to school districts, the State, and the county.

– $7.0 million for state assessments and $0.7 million for GED testing (SED requested $10 million). During conversations today with Deputy Commissioner Slentz, SAANYS has learned that the allocation less than requested will result in the elimination of the new ELA Regents exams for grades 9 & 10. However, funding would be sufficient to implement January 2013 Regents exams and to support the administration of GED tests.

– The Executive Budget recommends several reforms to the teacher disciplinary process. These proposals include allowing the State Education Department to set reasonable limits on the costs of teacher disciplinary hearings, disqualify hearing officers who fail to comply with statutory deadlines, and change the payment structure to encourage speedier outcomes. The new payment structure would have the costs of teacher hearings shared by school districts and the employees’ bargaining unit, or the employee if not represented by a bargaining unit, so that both have a stake in the timeliness of the process.

– Provides $31.6 million in funding for arts grants administered by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

Thank you to SANNYS for some of the exerpts

“The only group without a lobbyist? The students.”

Yesterday Governor Cuomo delivered his second State of the State address. Prior to the address, there was rumor of a new governor’s commission to recommend education reform. That prediction came true and was featured in the governor’s comments regarding education, which are below. No details regarding the new commission have been released as of today. Also below are other highlights of the address that directly affect school districts and students.

“I learned my most important lesson in my first year as Governor in the area of public education … that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist.” He went on: “The only group without a lobbyist? The students.”

Commission to Examine Education

“Today, we are driven by the business of public education more than the achievement in public education. Maybe that’s why we spend more money than any other state but are 38th in graduation rates.

We have to change the paradigm. We need major reform in two areas:

  •  – Teacher accountability and student achievement. We need a meaningful teacher evaluation system. The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for

Race to the Top didn’t work.

  •  – Management efficiency. We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend.
We cannot fail in our mission to reform public education, because we simply cannot fail our children. I will appoint a bipartisan education commission to work with the Legislature to recommend reforms in these key areas.”
Other Highlights
  • A call for a Tier 6 and public employee pension reform.
  • Statewide public hearings on mandate relief with a Mandate Relief Council.
  • Offer SUNY’s 60 other campuses the ability to compete for three $20 million challenge grants, with $10 million coming from the Executive and $10 from SUNY.
  • Curb child hunger by increasing participation in the food stamp program, removing barriers to participation, and eliminating the stigma associated with this program.
  • Promote employment of persons with disabilities and develop an Olmstead Implementation Plan to guide the transition of individuals from institutional to community-based care.

Working Together for a Common Focus on the Common Core

After spending 2 more grueling days in Albany as a member of the Greece Network Team one thing is very clear… ELA teachers and social studies teachers must work hand in hand if we are to truly create a rich reading and writing curriculum here at Greece CSD. With the Common

Core’s Learning Standards focus on the use of historical documents both supplemental and central to the Standards the expertise of both the ELA and social studies teachers must be combined to help student to “read like detectives and write like investigative reporters.”

For two days earlier this week, Diane Boni, Stephanie Smyka, Eric Blask and I were introduced to what seemed like 10 days of material on ELA Common Core shifts 1 & 2, 4 and 6. The math folks also got their fill of some of the new information coming from the state.

In this session the ELA folks were treated to some amazing ideas of how to roll out the common core in the classroom including video of teachers delving into complex texts with students and engaging them in text based questions that were worth asking. To hear these students confidently answer the questions while citing textual evidence for their response was an inspiring moment for many at the Institute.

The presenters also offered up great ideas on how to drill down into the text to help struggling students who may not understand the “message” by digging down through these 5 layers of the text:

1. The text (as a whole)

2. A passage

3. A sentence

4. A phrase

5. A word

Studies have shown that when a student cannot comprehend a complex text, it is most often because they are having trouble with a sentence, phrase or word. The teacher can find the student’s point of confusion by checking for understanding at each of these layers. Once the point of confusion is identified a teacher can address the issue, and spiral back up through the layers to ensure a student’s understanding of the entire text.

Supplemental historical text supporting larger works was also a major topic at the institute. Imagine the power of reading The Crucible (Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch Trials) in an ELA class, followed by a close read in a social studies class of the “Enemies from Within” speech by Senator McCarthy, as he accuses key members of our government of being communist. These two texts support each other by providing a “mental velcro” to finally help students make interdisciplinary connections stick.  Furthermore, delving into multiple supplemental historical texts on this subject with increasing complexity, will allow students’ to be more exposed to those crucial tier 2 and 3 vocabulary words.

The trip was long and the work was tiring but somehow every time we come back home we have even more energy and excitement to put toward the important work ahead to make all of our students college and career ready.

For more information on what Greece Central School District is doing click on our new section of our website below.