The experience of Sanborn Regional School District in Kingston and Newton is particularly important because the district and its board and superintendent have had a long term commitment to the Common Core. So I asked Superintendent Dr. Brian Blake about the cost of implementing the Common Core. Here’s what he said:
The short answer to the question is that I don’t expect much in the way of additional costs, but rather a shifting of resources. Let’s take a closer look at this in terms of school district resources and timing.
To begin, the “Common Core” is not new. It has been in existence for the past 3-5 years in different stages. Information was available 5 years ago about what the Core contained and how it was different from existing practice. Early adopters, such as Sanborn, immediately began analyzing the Core and comparing it to the State approved Grade Level Expectations (GLEs). Curriculum alignment with the GLEs and Common Core Standards in Math and English/language Arts has been an ongoing process. In Sanborn, power standards were developed to reflect the “big ideas” in line with the Common Core.
Most, if not all, school districts have a curriculum review cycle that involves a review of the existing curriculum, realignment if necessary, and the purchase of new and/or supplementary materials. Over the past five years, the Sanborn Regional School district has utilized the curriculum review cycle to ensure curriculum alignment with the expectations in the Common Core. It is critically important to note, that the Common Core IS NOT curriculum. It is a set of “big ideas” that students should know and be able to do when they graduate high school. How schools choose to achieve the goals of the Common Core makes up the curriculum in each district. The purchase of materials to accommodate the Common Core has simply been in line with the existing curriculum review cycle and purchase/replacement plans.
In terms of the testing, it is estimated that the cost of the Common Core assessments (Smarter Balanced in the case of NH), will be about the same as the costs of the NECAP testing, which we have had in the State for years. As a member of the consortium for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, I believe the State of New Hampshire has some control over the price point of the assessment.
The final area of “concern” is the area of technology readiness. When I arrived in Sanborn 5 years ago, the district was woefully behind in technology availability and usage. After a successful technology plan was developed in conjunction with our strategic plan, we are now poised to meet the demands of 21st century education and provide out students with the skills necessary for them to be successful in college and careers. Our technology purchases have positioned us to be ready for the Smarter Balanced Assessments without any additional impact on the system.