Common Core State Standards: Staff Development on Text-Dependent Questions

It has been touted as the single most comprehensive reform in education. The United States has established a common set of educational expectations adopted by 46 states. In order to prepare students for college and career readiness, the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released new national curricular standards in math and language arts for primary and secondary schools. These standards, disseminated on June 2, 2010, are called The Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The emphasis of these new standards focuses on rigor in preparing all students for college and careers and the understanding of how to implement these new policies affects districts, site leaders and teachers alike. This realization has set the educational world into motion in determining the most appropriate method for implementation. The relevancy of the English Language Arts CCSS along with the shift in teaching paradigms has given breadth to this action research. The goals of this project are the creation of staff development that introduces the middle school staff to the new expectations set forth in the CCSS and to look at the use of one reading strategy - understanding text-dependent questions. The objective of the staff development is to increase the middle school staff's awareness of the new shifts in the English language arts (ELA) standards as they pertain not only to English teachers specifically, but to teachers of other content areas.