Friday, April 25, 2014

Supporting the Common Core State Standards: Librarians at the Center

The Common Core State Standards are nation-wide standards that outline what skills each student should be able to do in mathematics and English Language Arts. They were developed with the goal of preparing our students to be college and career ready by the end of high school, planning how to work up to that end point.

Our students in Berkeley are in the middle of taking the new online SBA tests. It is a field test year, and no results will be tied with individual students. But I can assure you that you’ll be hearing lots about the Common Core in the coming months as the statewide results come in. So, what’s my attitude? I believe that there are positive aspects to the Common Core and concerning aspects. I’m both a glass half-full and glass half-empty type of person.

Please try to separate what you hear about the assessment from the curriculum. In my opinion, many of the standards are based on solid, important teaching goals. That’s my focus today -- to help you see how our library work can support those teaching goals. As librarians, we pour in more water, improving students’ skills by providing access to engaging, relevant material.

What do librarians have to do with all this anyway? The Common Core asks students to read more nonfiction, to use more primary sources, to consider author’s perspectives and opinions, and to read more. Can teachers provide all this material for students? I don’t think so. Can families? No -- no one can do it on their own. Librarians can provide essential support to students, teachers and families in their communities.

Below is a presentation I gave this week to the California Library Association. I've tried to encapsulate my views on key ways librarians can support students, teachers and families. We are all in this together.

If you'd like further information, I recommend exploring these sources:

If you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you. We are all on a learning journey together. Many thanks to all of my colleagues at Berkeley Unified School District. I have learned so much from all of you. The views expressed here are mine alone, and do not represent my employer.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. I'm not a big fan of the Common Core, but the interesting aspect of the common core for authors is that since it's so new, and universal, it gives authors a real hook for marketing their book. If we can create a learning plan for a book based on the core it can reach across a lot of regions. Although I'm not sure the creators of the core had author-marketing in mind when they created it!

  2. Fabulous power point that focuses on foundational skills that we all need to facilitate!