By Christie L. ChicoineCS&T Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – To propel 21st century children intellectually into the global world, the archdiocesan Office for Catholic Education is instituting the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a national curriculum program lauded as a rigorous and relevant launch pad of learning.
The Archdiocese is preparing to implement the common core standards this fall.
In 2014, elementary and secondary students of all archdiocesan schools will participate in the National Core Standards Assessment to showcase their strengths among schools across the country. {{more}}

“The foundation of all this work is Jesus Christ,” said Mary Rochford, the archdiocesan superintendent of schools. “The Lord provides for each and every person, as well as every time period in history, the abilities to advance the world in the right and proper direction.”
Students currently receiving a Catholic education and those to come in the future “are counting on our willingness to learn and to re-learn what will support them in their formative years in school,” continued Rochford.
Since the spring of 2010, the Archdiocesan Curriculum Committees have been reforming the curriculum guidelines and standards. The International Center for Leadership in Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association have consulted the committees throughout the process, as have teachers, administrators and other curriculum experts.
Pennsylvania adopted the core standards in July 2010. More than 40 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have also added the core standards to their curricula.
English language arts and mathematics are the first subject areas in which the Archdiocese will apply the new core standards this fall. Science and social studies will adhere to the new core standards in 2012-13.
In English language arts, the standards require certain critical content for all students, including America’s founding documents, foundational American literature and Shakespeare.
In addition to content coverage, the standards require that students systematically acquire knowledge in literature and other disciplines through reading, writing, speaking and listening.
The remaining decisions about what content should be taught are determined at the state and local levels.
In mathematics, the standards build a base from whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, spanision, fractions and decimals. Such a blueprint is designed to support a student’s ability to learn and to apply more demanding math concepts and procedures.
The middle school and high school standards challenge students to practice applying mathematical modes of thinking to real world issues and situations as they sharpen their mathematical thinking and reasoning skills.
In addition, the standards set a rigorous course of college and career readiness not by piling topic upon topic but by demanding that students develop a depth of understanding and ability to apply subjects to novel situations, as college students and employees must do daily through their respective fields of study and work.
Consistent standards, educators believe, provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.
So that all students are prepared to succeed in a global economy and society, the standards are based upon those of other top performing countries as well as the strengths and lessons of current state standards.
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CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or