The Voyage of the Eagle


Education reform in America is in full swing as schools everywhere are transitioning to a new standard - specifically the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Beginning in 2009, the development of the CCSS was led by state Governors and state Superintendents/Commissioners of Education and informed by the best state standards already in existence; the collaboration of teachers, content experts, and leading thinkers; and feedback from the public. The new standards were subsequently adopted by 46 out of 50 states (the others are embracing similar reform initiatives of their own creation). While the CCSS movement is certainly still a work in progress with lots of potential bumps in the road, the objectives that drove the reform are important. The overarching intent was to create standards that were:


Clear - so that teachers, students, and parents know the learning expectations and are able to effectively work towards them


Consistent - so that we have a shared understanding of what is important for all students to learn and the ability to analyze and compare performance throughout the nation


Rigorous - so that students can be adequately prepared for the expectations of college and career in a highly competitive and globalized marketplace


Relevant - so that learning is engaging and meaningful for students in the 21st century


At Clayton Valley Charter High School, we have embraced this change and made great strides in the last two years. Our teachers are already ahead of the curve in implementing CCSS in the classroom and the professional development and collaboration around this effort is ongoing. You may remember that the API scores for schools in California have been frozen since 2013 (CVCHS finished the old system on a high note achieving a 62 point jump to an all-time high score of 836). The API will return at the end of the 2015-16 school year for our state, this time based on the Common Core State Standards and with a completely new assessment system in place. For California this new test will not only be based on new standards but will be administered in a new way - on a computer. The CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) uses "smart" technology to adapt to the specific student taking the test.  


Those states that are farther along in their adoption process and have already seen scores come in from the new CCSS based test are seeing dramatic (almost alarming) drops in performance. What this tells us is that the new tests are much harder and we have a lot of work to do to fully transition.


Again, the students at CVCHS have a great advantage in that our teachers and staff are dedicated to making this transition as seamless as possible and have worked very hard to that end. For more information on the Common Core State Standards visit the CVCHS website at We have a page dedicated to the CCSS (under the "Academic Programs" tab). Click on the links, watch the videos, and ask your students to take the sample test so that they can get a feel for what is coming. It is good to have an understanding of the CCSS as we navigate this substantive change in the way we do public education. Most importantly, you can count on CVCHS to help lead the way.


In Your Service,


David Linzey