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New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core

West Central’s Response to Education Reform

Ralph Grimm, Superintendent

The West Central District #235 is facing many changes as a result of the education reform legislation that we recently passed in Illinois and in the United States. It is our hope that staff, students, parents and community members can all work together to create an academically rigorous, personalized, learning environment that leads to improved student achievement. As we move forward you will see changes in standards, instruction, student assessment, use of technology, and teacher and administrator evaluation. District #235 is working hard to implement the changes required by this new legislation and to prepare our students for college and careers. In upcoming editions of the Heat Index, information will be shared with our stakeholders about the changes we are facing.


New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core:


The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted new academic standards for K-12 education to better prepare Illinois students for success in college and the workforce. These new academic standards are known as the New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core (Common Core). The Common Core aim to provide clear, consistent academic benchmarks with “fewer, clearer and higher” academic expectations. For more information on the Common Core go to www.isbe.net and click on the link at the right of the page labeled Learning Standards. On this page you will find a significant list of resources providing details about what the reform initiatives mean for schools and what we must do to align our curriculum to the new standards. 


The West Central Administrative Team has developed an implementation plan to make the transition to the Common Core. You can view our plan “Common Core Path to Achievement” at www.wc235.k12.il.us and click on the common core tab.  It is our hope that you have been seeing a shift in our curriculum as we have strived to improve student learning to make gains in meeting Adequate Yearly Progress.  We expect that you will continue to see changes as we transition to the Common Core. 

District expectations that have been shared with teachers as we are transitioning into the Common Core include:

    • “It’s no longer just about what kids know.  It’s about what kids can do with what they know.”
    • “We will have more emphasis on skills identified in the common core. We will teach fewer concepts in more depth rather than more concepts with less concentration.”
    • “New Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core will drive what we teach.”

West Central District #235 continues to work hard to stay ahead of the curve in our ever changing education system. We will continue to provide information and keep parents up to date as we all work our way through the changes in education. Please do not hesitate to ask questions of our staff and administration as we grow and learn together.

Hopefully you can see that our school district is working hard to transition to the new learning standards. But we know that “Learning does not end in the classroom. Children need help and support at home to succeed in their studies."  To help promote this thought, The National PTA® partnered with experts on the Common Core to create grade by grade guides that reflect the standards adopted by more than 40 states.  Individual guides were created for grades K-8 and two were created for grades 9-12 (one for English language arts/literacy and one for mathematics). Eleven guides were created in all. For more information on the Common Core visit the “Parent’s Guide to Student Success”.  pta.org/4446.htm.  This guide includes key items that children should be learning in English language arts and mathematicians in each grade, once the standards are fully implemented. (pta.org)

Thank you for reading this lengthy introduction to the work that is being done in the district to address the latest round of education reform. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with any questions or concerns you may have as we continue our quest of Providing Opportunity, Expecting Excellence.