Common Core curriculum focuses on more enlightened graduates, skilled workforce

By Diana Whittle

With the Common Core curriculum fully
implemented into the curriculum of Tempe
classrooms, educators are broadening their
focus to explain the new learning expectations to
students and parents.
Common Core curriculum was adopted in 2010
in Arizona, as well as in 46 other states, to create
the next generation of K-12 standards in English
language arts and mathematics, according to Lorah
Neville, Kyrene’s director of curriculum and learning
“These shared standards allow us to see how
Arizona students measure up nationally on clearly
articulated outcomes, not general knowledge and
skills,” said Neville.
“We could not do that with the previous
standards or assessments.”
Using these standards, learners are required to
think more critically and become more involved in
justifying their responses when answering higherlevel
questions, says Neville. Arizona believes that
the use of the Common Core curriculum will help
to ensure more enlightened graduates and a skilled
Now referred to as the College and Career Ready
Standards in Arizona, these expectations can be
found online at the state’s Department of Education
For teachers, the biggest change in working
with the new College and Career standards is in the
delivery of instruction at a more rigorous level.
“In addition, the new standards require students
to apply what they have learned, often in unique or
novel ways. Students must master more complex
text at earlier grades than ever before,” said Neville.
“So, we continue to provide teachers training to
ensure that they deliver high-quality instruction in
the classroom.”
Tempe-based educators want all parents to
be knowledgeable about the transition to College
and Career readiness standards, so students can be
prepared for higher-learning opportunities and the
As a result, Kyrene Middle School recently
hosted Expect More Arizona to help explain the
standards and discuss ways that parents can support
their child’s education.
Expect More Arizona is a high-expectations
movement dedicated to making Arizona education
the best in the nation.
Expect More Arizona champions high-quality
education, from birth through career, for all Arizona
children and students.
The college- and career-ready agenda is a set
of policies that aims to ensure all students have
the academic knowledge and skills needed to be
successful in post-secondary education, training and
on the job.
Nathan Maruca, listed as a 2014 Rodel
Exemplary Teacher finalist, is a fifth-grade teacher at
Aguilar Elementary School in the Tempe Elementary
He says the new standards are already
demonstrating results in his classroom.
“The implementation of Arizona’s College and
Career Ready Standards is making a difference in
student success beyond the classroom,” said Maruca.
“I am spending less time lecturing and more
time teaching critical thinking skills so that my
students have the ability to discover the correct
answer, but also can explain the process that they
took to work through the problem,” he said.
According to Expect More Arizona research,
in the new standards, math instruction is no longer
focused on rote memorization and the recall of facts.
Teachers use problems that may arise in
everyday life.
After what is designed to be meaningful student
conversation about each problem, students hopefully
discover that there are multiple ways to find the
The efforts of Expect More Arizona can be found
on their website at: