Common Core Standards and The Transitions Curriculum

The Transitions Curriculum Prepares Students for College and Career Through Real Life Application of the Common Core State Standards

Louise Fulton, Ed.D. & Rebecca Silva, Ph.D.

Jesse had wanted to go to college, but now that he had been offered a full time job at Upland Tire he wanted to drop out. He said his courses were too hard and would not make any difference anyway. He finally agreed to try the new career preparation course. Once he began to see the real world relevance between his core academic classes and The Transitions Curriculum activities, he changed his mind. Two years later, Jesse was a High school graduate and on his way to finishing Community College.

Jose was failing in his core subjects but was determined to stay in school and earn a diploma. Jose’s reading skills were deficient. His resource teacher was working with him every day, but progress was slow. Jose entered the career class and became the star. By participating in the real world activities and sharing projects with other students who were working at their own levels, he gained confidence and a new appreciation of how improved reading skills would help him in the real world. At the same time he learned work related skills from The Transitions Curriculum, he was applying core academics. By the end of the year everyone was happy to see Jose complete school, sign up for continuing education and start a part time job.

To be competitive in the 21st Century, students like Jesse and Jose must have the knowledge and skills to succeed in and beyond high school.

This paper explains the relationship between the Common Core Standards and The Transitions Curriculum. Both are critically important and needed for students to become literate, productive, and successful adults in the US workforce and society. Although The Transitions Curriculum is not designed to teach CCS skills, it is designed to support and enhance the skills students learn in core courses.

Students who advance through school with the Common Core State Standards become literate individuals mastering skills and abilities to increase success in college, career and adult life. According to the Common Core State Initiative (2012), young people will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate independence by becoming self-directed learners who comprehend and evaluate complex texts and use a wide-ranging vocabulary.
  2. Build strong content knowledge across a wide range of subjects through research and study demonstrated through writing and speaking.
  3. Respond to various audiences by adapting their communication based on the task, purpose and topic.
  4. Comprehend and critique through reading and listening with an open mind to discern what the author is communicating.
  5. Value evidence by citing specific information from text in either a written or oral interpretation.
  6. Use Technology and digital media to enhance learning through reading writing speaking listening and use of language.
  7. Understand other perspectives and cultures by appreciating those who represent divergent cultures as well as diverse experiences and beliefs.

The Transitions Curriculum reinforces all seven of these skills and abilities. So, to reach a higher level of performance, students should have the advantage of both the CCS and The Transitions Curriculum. The Transitions Curriculum employs core academic skills, but it also imparts its own core skills such as responsibility, self-esteem and self-management, centered around learning how to function as an effective adult whether in college, career or community.

The Transitions Curriculum is aligned with CCS by supporting college and work expectations with numerous lessons to prepare students for college and career. There are hundreds of lessons teaching real world application of skills such as decision-making, career preparation, and job readiness. In Volume 1: Personal Management, students complete career assessments, research and determine a career goal, and prepare for college or training. For example, in Lesson 17, students go deeper by exercising self-determination skills as they prepare, and lead their own “Transition Meeting.” At the meeting they will commit to a career goal and develop a detailed plan to accomplish that goal. (See lesson here)

Lessons in The Transitions Curriculum are structured around Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher order thinking skills to increase reasoning, decision-making, problem solving, and creativity. For example, students will use skills from “Reading for Information-Standard 10” and “Statistics & Probability-Interpreting Data-Standard A-4,” to analyze statistical information about the educational requirements, growth prospects and salary levels of various occupations over the next ten years. (See lesson here)

Finally, The Transitions Curriculum supports the Common Core Standards (CCS) by demonstrating for students how CCS acquired skills can be employed to resolve real life problems. One example, Lesson 17 in Volume 3, involves students in problem solving related to developing and analyzing a complex budget. (See lesson here)

The intent of CCS, to prepare students for college, career, and the global economy through increased higher order thinking is supported and implemented throughout The Transitions Curriculum.

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The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.

Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.

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