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Changes in writing offerings for Plymouth schools

March 5, 2012

PLYMOUTH — The Curriculum Committee of the Plymouth Schools met last week to review changes in the writing offerings and methods that will be used throughout the corporation.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core Standards and Indiana schools have three years to adopt the new changes.
A task force consisting of educators and administrators from each school in the Plymouth Community School Corporation along with parents who have students in the various schools met to be briefed on the specific goals in the writing portion of the curriculum for the next school year.
Superintendent Daniel Tyree said schools will have a three-year period to reach the goal, but they are integrating steps now. “We have to increase the student’s text complexity,” he said.
Presenting for the group was Carrie Cannon, intern in the Administration office. Cannon said, “We are preparing our students to handle the writing demands of the 21st Century workforce, as well as education beyond high school. “
According to Cannon, research has shown that only 20 percent of students who enter college are ready to engage in a persuasive writing assignment.
Many of the Common Core standards came out of a 2009 survey of English professors. Consistent among their comments was that persuasive and informational writing is the most important style of writing to succeed in the workforce. It was noted in the survey that narrative writing has little importance for the 21st Century Scholar.
“The Common Core Standards put a stronger emphasis on persuasive writing so that students have a stronger ability to make sound arguments in their colleges and careers,” said Cannon.
Menominee Elementary Principal Michael Dunn added, “The writing in the future will be shorter and more focused as opposed to the typical research reports of the past. The new writing is also going to be an application of the reading skills being taught. Writing in the new way will enable students to have a deeper comprehension.”
Many educators believe that increased writing will promote stronger persuasive and thinking skills. The new standards will focus on presenting more information, findings, and evidence pieces that support claims and viewpoints along with incorporating the use of digital media and visual displays to express information to enhance presentations.

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