Email Barbara Murchison (Common Core Implementation):
What the Department of Education wants collected:
California Student Privacy Opt-out Form:
Against Common Core:
Tally of States pushing back against the Common Core:
California Governor/Representative/DOE Contacts:
Senator Mark DeSaulnier:
Call our District office at 925-942-6082
or e-mail me here.
Find Your Representative CA Assembly:
Email Assembly Women - Bonilla & Buchanan:
Email Craig Cheslog (Chief Education Adviser to Torlakson):
Email Tom Adams (Curriculum & Frameworks):
Pro-Common Core Statements Submitted to the Forum:
Common Core State Standards Personal Statement –
Denise Jennison, School Board Vice President, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
In the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, we pride ourselves on offering the best education to
every student in our district. As an elected school board member, it has always been a priority for me to
make sure that we are meeting the needs of every student that comes through our doors. Whether that
student is a high-achiever, a struggling student, or firmly in the middle, my expectation has always been
that we will see each student as an individual, meet them where they are, and take them as far as they
It is because of this expectation that I am eager to see the implementation of the Common Core State
Standards. These new standards allow teachers to go deeper than they ever have before with the
curriculum. With more interactive classrooms, students will be challenged to be critical thinkers and
collaborators. Additionally, the Common Core State Standards will bring a re-emergence of creativity to
While I fully recognize and sincerely acknowledge that there is much anxiety surrounding the
implementation of the new Standards, much of this anxiety can be alleviated by controlling the things
that are within our control as a local elected body. We must ensure a successful implementation.
Successful implementation is at the crux of student success. While standards are decided at the State
level, curriculum is decided locally. Local decisions will still drive student learning. Each district must
make sure that teachers receive the proper training and students have the proper tools to ensure a
rigorous education. I can only speak for the work that is being done in the San Ramon Valley USD, but
for our district, I can assure you that we are going above and beyond to provide both staff and students
with the tools they need to get the job done.
In the San Ramon Valley USD, we have excellent teachers; the best. We have excellent resources. We
have excellent training. We have a demanding community. Combined, we have a model for success.
As a local elected official, I encourage the public to stay informed about your local school district’s
progress with the new State Standards. Attend local information nights. Support the district in its efforts
to provide a high quality educational program. Most importantly, remain confident in your local elected
board members to do their jobs. They --- I ---- share your commitment to the education of our children.
As has always been the case, I will settle for nothing less than the best.
CCSS Statement from Mark Jewett, San Ramon Valley School District Board Member:
My view of the common core state standards has been formed primarily from a “bottoms up” approach.
First: I have visited the practice tests of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium with my two elementary age children and taken those tests together. I believe that in understanding how we will measure our students against the CCSS will inform us of the effectiveness of the CCSS, indeed it is the best place to start in understanding the CCSS. Regarding the math sections, there are very few instances where rote memorization of addition/subtraction/multiplication etc. tables can lead to correct answers. Indeed students need to have a demonstrated conceptual understanding of the key ideas, the fundamental concepts, in order to apply them to solve for complex situations that call for mathematical solutions. The ELA tests are designed to test the ability of students to fully comprehend, synthesize, interpret and relate concepts in written passages. Questions focus on the ability to develop arguments and support those arguments with facts and interpretations from the passages. This is exactly the “deeper thinking” promise of the CCSS.
Second: I have visited many, many classrooms over the last year and a half, to find students collaborating with each other in problem solving settings, leveraging their collective ideas into deeper understanding of curriculum content. Gone are the days of students working in silos, rows and columns of students working in silence, some progressing with complete understanding with others becoming silently left behind. Discussion, debate, support and analysis are encouraged, even mandated, all the way down to the kindergarten level, and I’ve seen the increased levels of engagement first hand.
Personally, I’ve witnessed the increasing ability of my own two children to work through complex problems, draft compositions with deeper thinking, and in fact relate to real world issues with increased awareness and engagement. I credit this to the shift to the CCSS. As has been noted, the CCSS are just that, standards. The curriculum and the manner in which teachers teach to these standards are locally developed. I’m very proud of the way that the SRVUSD has developed its implementation plan over the last several years, using a “push in” model of highly trained teachers on special assignment to help train other teachers by “pushing in” new ways of teaching to assist our students with deeper thinking and application. The CCSS have been adopted by the CA State Board of Education. They are the standards we must apply; it is up to our District to implement them with the highest level of efficacy.
CCSS Statement from Mary Shelton, San Ramon Valley School District Board Member:
Having now witnessed the implementation of Common Core Standards “in action” in K-12 classrooms across our district, I am excited and enthusiastic about the changes I have seen. In many ways, the shift in teaching and learning has been a return to teacher-driven lesson planning with the addition of high levels of student engagement in their own learning through the use of technology, projects and performance tasks. The Common Core Standards, just as the California State Standards did, state “what” a student needs to know at each grade level, they do not dictate how teachers teach. This is a local decision, and schools and teachers can use their expertise to decide how best to help students reach the expected standard. Standards are guidelines and expectations for learning; curriculum is still locally determined and I am confident that our teachers (some of the best in the state) are ensuring that our students are well-grounded in the skills and content knowledge essential to their academic progress. Our students are not only acquiring skills, but analyzing information from a variety of resources, synthesizing and evaluating data and material and gaining presentation and collaboration skills that we know are essential for the 21st century global workplace. Teachers may now use their imagination and creativity to design lessons that teach concepts at a higher level rather than “covering” memorized content that is often forgotten as soon as the test is over; they are becoming facilitators of learning rather than deliverers of content. Our students are reading and writing more than ever before---both fiction and non-fiction. They spend more time on a mathematical concept in order to fully understand and are encouraged to solve problems in many ways…rather than following a specified procedure by rote without really understanding the underlying concept. I hope our parents and the public will educate themselves about both the new Common Core Standards as well as the California State Standards---read them both, and decide which one raises the bar for our students who will be attending college and working in a much different world than you or I. Please visit our online Common Core resources for parents and staff at www.srvusd.net for more information.