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Verna Rasmussen, Published September 13 2013

Letter: ND teachers of the year support Common Core

North Dakota is known for its outstanding education, and our students have always been taught to high standards. The Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English/language arts provide direction to further ensure that every North Dakota graduate will be ready for college or a career.

As our world changes, the requirements and expectations of high school graduates are also changing. Whether starting a career, trade school or college, North Dakota graduates must be prepared to solve new problems with creativity, analyze complex situations with precision, communicate and collaborate effectively, and make well-informed decisions.

The Common Core explicitly describes the skills and knowledge students need to be well-equipped to start the next phases of their lives. The Common Core also provides consistency across most states so that if students move, they will still learn the same skills and information. This consistency will also make it easier for teachers to learn with each other and solve problems together.

As the Common Core comes into practice, activities will be more interactive, and students will be even more involved with their learning. And while the Common Core provides direction, they still allow the creative, common sense approach to education typical of North Dakota classrooms. These standards serve as a guide to ensure that we are providing every student in North Dakota an education that best prepares them for success from Kindergarten to high school to college or career.

The state assessments will also align with the Common Core and provide feedback on whether students are on track to college and career readiness. To find accurate information about the Common Core, a good place to start is the Department of Public Instruction website, which features helpful links and, of course, your local schools.

Every year, thousands of teachers across the state put tremendous effort into providing an outstanding education for every student in the classroom. North Dakota teachers will continue to bring dedication, creativity, and expertise to our practice as we implement the Common Core and make learning even more compelling, rigorous, and meaningful.

This letter was also signed by Mary Eldredge-Sandbo (Des Lacs, N.D., Teacher of the Year 2010), Brenda Werner (Bismarck, NDTOY 2012), Marlene Srock (Minot, NDTOY 2007), Julia Koble (Minot, NDTOY 2002) and Karen Toavs (Williston, NDTOY 2011). They and Rasmussen (West Fargo, NDTOY 2008) are a group of North Dakota State Teachers of the Year who have had the privilege and honor of representing the many outstanding educators across the state. “We have had the opportunity to view the field of education from multiple perspectives. In this capacity, we are grateful to be able to share our thoughts on the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/language arts, and the potential these standards hold to improve teaching and learning in our state.”