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Common Core State Standards

Preparing our young people for the world of tomorrow means equipping them with the knowledge and skills today that they will need to succeed in the workforce. To do that, we need to update our goals for learning—and that’s really all Common Core Standards are. They are a set of learning goals that work grade-by-grade, step-by-step toward what modern careers and colleges expect, so that when students graduate, they are ready for college, ready for work—ready for life.


So what does it mean to be "ready?" In our fast-changing world, readiness involves having a very flexible kind of skill set—like a rope that can be used in many contexts. We need workers who can adapt to new situations and apply what they know to unforeseen problems. By making it a priority that students are able to weave together knowledge from different content areas, and problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate and work in teams, we’re asking educators to shift their approach to teaching.


We will be putting more emphasis on giving students chances to integrate what they learn in various subjects. We are excited to see this kind of excellent teaching become more and more common—I think that this approach is going to build the next generation of American innovation.

English Language Arts (ELA) PK-12 Core Curriculum

San Francisco Unified School District’s ELA Core Curriculum establishes clear student learning goals and a roadmap for teachers to select materials and strategies for effective teaching, assessment and reflection.

The core curriculum provides teachers guidance around both the “What” and the “How.” The “What” establishes what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The “How” is the Comprehensive Approach to Literacy that provides the structures and methodology to ensure that students are learning the “What.”

In the ELA Core Curriculum, students will closely read increasingly complex fiction and non-fiction texts, assemble arguments based on evidence from those texts, and use this evidence in both written and oral formats.

Mathematics Core Curriculum

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) emphasize a balanced approach of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and problem solving. Implementation of the CCSS-M requires many shifts: from an emphasis on getting answers quickly to making sense of and persevering on challenging open-ended problems; from working in isolation to collaborating and critiquing each other’s mathematical arguments; and from evaluating students by their standardized test scores to using performance tasks for formative assessment. Educators throughout the district have already begun to shift to this new vision of mathematics. Our work now is to scale up this vision and implementation to all schools.