With the new Common Core Standards being implemented this year, many parents are on the edge. They don’t understand the new standards, or how to teach their kids using the new methods. Common core is a huge change for everyone and parents don’t understand what these changes mean.
As a teacher, you understand that parental involvement is crucial as Common Core is rolled out and implemented. Teachers should not expect parents to know every change that is made in the curriculum, and how they relate to their child’s education. In fact, a recent Gallup poll revealed that 62% of Americans have never even heard of the new Common Core Standards. Those who have heard about Common Core tend to have misconceptions regarding them. Those misconceptions can range from assuming they are lumped together standards from all states, to believing that the standards are federal and telling teachers how to teach. The only way parents can know the truth is when they hear it from you. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to inform families about the changes related to Common Core standards and to invite them to partner with you in providing a great academic environment for their children.
So, how can we talk to parents about Common Core?
Parents who are concerned about the Common Core standards may be coming to you with fears and insecurities. If their child’s academic performance has decreased due to new material, they may be concerned and emotional. Parents need to be able to come to you and voice their feelings and worries. As a teacher, it is important to listen to their concerns while noting any misinformation they may believe. Respond to each parent specifically, and take the time to listen. Listening builds a trusting relationship with parents that can help facilitate conversations now and in the future.
By taking the time to listen to the parents in your classroom, you are letting them know that every student’s achievement is important. If you are prepared and understanding when they speak to you, they will find you trustworthy and will believe that you are working together towards one goal: better preparing all students in a world that is changing.
Explain how Common Core is being implemented in your school. What role will it play? How are you as a teacher handling the implementation? If your school is excited about it, tell the parents. Explain that schools feel that the new Common Core standards are an opportunity for students to experience a wide variety of learning activities that will help prepare them for college and a career.
Keep your explanation simple and current. The standards are overwhelming to read, so break them down into a conversation that is parent-friendly. Highlight a few skills you plan on focusing on. List reading and math skills that parents can work on with their children at home.
Keeping parents in a classroom informed can be done via a classroom website or weekly newsletters. These means of communication can be a way to share sample test questions with parents. This allows parents to understand the types of problems that students will be asked to answer on the new assessment. You can also list online resources for parents to use at home.
When parents are talking to their child’s teacher, they expect the teacher to understand where they are coming from. They walk into the meeting with expectations. They want to know what their child is going to be expected to know, and they want to know how they can support their child’s learning at home. These discussions can be difficult and emotional for both teachers and parents. By showing parents that we understand their expectations, we are better able to communicate with parents. Communication is key to any relationship, and this is especially true in a classroom setting.
Supporting students throughout the Common Core Transition is a team effort. Parents and teachers must work together. This can be done by listening to parents, explaining the standards, and understanding where parents are coming from. Parents can support teachers by working with their children at home and explaining the need for standards to their children
One way you can help the parents of your students is by giving them resources that can help. Here are some links that contain valuable information:
Also here is a resource that can help your students work through Math with their parents at home:
CCSS Sample Questions & Practice Tests