Common Core Prepares Students for College/Career

The Little Rock School District is committed to helping students develop the broad knowledge and technical skills they need to meet today’s college challenges and workforce demand by adopting Common Core Standards. The Standards were developed through a national collaboration of educators and governors across the country adopting Common Core for grades K-8.

The goal is to improve student achievement in literacy and math. The district, along with many other school districts across the country, will be working to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all children will graduate from high school with the skills they need to be successful. Arkansas is one of 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, that is adopting the new standards voluntarily.

The district is using a comprehensive approach to provide opportunities for its students to realize their full potential.  LRSD intends to enhance college and career-ready standards by improving classroom instruction methods, encouraging better preparation and development for teachers, and supporting high-quality assessments.

Dr. Vanessa Cleaver, director of the district’s mathematics department, explained what these changes will mean for students in the district. “Teachers will concentrate on teaching a more focused set of major math concepts and skills through the use of rich and challenging math content; and students will master important ideas and skills in a more organized way throughout the year and from one grade to the next,” she said. Cleaver also indicated that this approach would engage students in solving real-world problems and inspire greater interest in math.

“The transition to Common Core Standards in middle school literacy brings excitement and challenge,” added LRSD Director of Secondary Literacy Suzi Davis. “With the emphasis on preparing students for college and career after high school, students will be collaborating with peers to read and analyze complex text, locate and evaluate information, and write to inform and argue as they are challenged to think critically and solve problems.” 

LRSD middle school teachers will have a built-in collaboration period which will allow a team approach on lesson plans and Common Core objectives. This implementation, along with the new Middle School Initiative for LRSD that includes eight-period days, is designed to meet the needs of all students. The eight-period day will also offer more electives in middle schools and give students who require it, the extra help and enrichment they need to be successful.

Dr. Daniel Whitehorn, associate superintendent for middle schools, said, “I am extremely excited about the Middle School Initiative this year. We are doing something here that is very broad in scope and will, we believe, challenge all students who enter our middle schools.“