Let's Talk Standards


The Common Core State Standards outline clear, shared goals for learning that will prepare children for college and the workforce. The standards represent an aspirational document, which is our best current description of what we want our students to know and be able to do in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. Some students will master and go beyond the goals in the standards. Others will need close support, frequent feedback, and personalized instruction from teachers who work with them closely to make sure they develop the skills and understandings they need to thrive beyond school.

A common set of standards challenges us to ask if-- from prekindergarten through grade 12-- we have systematically provided all students with the opportunities to learn they need to thrive in college and/or careers. In districts, educators will continue exercise judgment, flexibility and creativity about curriculum, in order to make sure teaching is personalized and local curriculum builds on the strengths and interests of students and districts.

The AOE, through the Vermont Professional Learning Network (PLN), will continue to support professional development around the Common Core. Many districts are also investing heavily not only in development of curriculum, but also in developing teaching strategies and K-12 models for systematically improving learning related to the Common Core.


Pat Fitzsimmons

They Require Skills that are Essential for Success in the 21st Century

Pat Fitzsimmons, Common Core Implementation Coordinator at the Agency of Education

Vermont educators will continue to determine their local curriculum, allowing for flexibility and creativity, to ensure that all students are on a path to college and career readiness.

Christina Suarez

Students need to experience real life reading, writing, and mathematical tasks

Christina Suarez, Social Studies teacher at Lake Region Union High School

When talking to parents about the Common Core, I talk about how it is actually more of what ALL students need to be functional adults.

Sue Zeinith Collins

It’s not just about the what, the how and the why really do matter

Sue Zeinith Collins, ELA, Social Studies, and Technology Coordinator at Montgomery Elementary School teacher

The premise behind the Common Core is one of deeper meaning, understanding, and explanation.
Craig Divis

Focusing more on skills than specific content-area facts and details

Craig Divis, Social Studies teacher and Department Chair at Bellows Falls Union High School

I see the Common Core as a positive development in education for students in Vermont and the U.S.
Valerie Gasco

My lessons are designed to get students to take personal responsibility for their own learning

Valerie Gasco, Special Educator at Riverside Middle School

The Common Core presents a rigorous set of expectations for our students; holding all of our kids to high standards can yield surprising results.
Katy Farber

We must work together to find ways to support teachers in this meaningful work, and also to promote the sharing of good practices

Katy Farber, 6th grade teacher at Rumney Memorial School

For new teachers, the Common Core can be daunting or liberating, and all shades in between.

For Vermonters, this means a strengthening of community centered education will be possible

Lachlan Francis, senior at Brattleboro Union High School and Co-Vice Chair of the Vermont State Board of Education

The truth is, Common Core on its own is not a savior for our public education system.
Rebecca Holcombe

Many of the jobs our children used to do are now done by machines, so we need to educate our children to do the work that is uniquely human

Rebecca Holcombe, Secretary of Education

The unique power of our children’s minds is in their flexibility and ability to learn, and this is what we need to develop.


Pat Fitzsimmons, Common Core/Math & Science Partnership Coordinator, at pat.fitzsimmons@vermont.gov or (802) 479-1425

Page Last Updated on December 4, 2014