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Whitehall School District addresses common core changes

By Kris Rile, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Oct 22 2012 11:07:03 PM CDT
WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

The Whitehall-Coplay School District explores future shifts in the common core standards throughout the district. 

Dr. Barbara Chomik, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, presented the Education and Student Activities Committee with a detailed breakdown of the proposed instructional shifts to the common core standards that will be put in effect throughout the district in the coming years.

The Whitehall-Coplay School District currently educates according to the Bloom’s Taxonomy Method but will switch over to the Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Method soon. Webb’s DOK method is separated into four levels of teaching; Recall & Reproduction, Skills & Concepts, Strategic Thinking & Reasoning, and the final level is Extended Thinking.

Chomik focused on the six significant changes in the English & Language Arts and Mathematics courses during her presentation to the Committee. According to Chomik, the most significant change to the English curriculum will be more nonfictional and informational reading and a higher complexity of the readings.

“Informational readings include newspaper articles, professional journals, and any nonfiction work,” said Chomik.

According to Chomik, by fourth grade students will read 50% fictional stories and 50% informational readings, by eighth grade students will read 45% fictional stories and 55% informational readings, and by their senior year they will focus mostly on informational readings by spending 70% of their time reading nonfiction pieces.

Chomik informed the Committee that the key change in the Mathematics curriculum will be narrowing and deepening the subject’s focus and making the curriculum more coherent between grade levels.

“The students will be able to justify what they’re doing and why they are doing it,” said Chomik.

She mentioned that any new techniques and materials associated with the Webb’s DOK will be used to complement rather than replace current content standards in other subjects such as science, social studies, and technical subjects.

No specific date has been set for a full implementation of the Webb’s DOK Method throughout the District, but according to Chomik, Whitehall’s students could see Webb’s DOK style of test questions on the PSSA tests as early as next year.