National standards help us to organize, achieve, and remain accountable. We also want to stay relevant and current in what we are teaching so we can prepare God's students for today's world.
We believe that we should be committed to instructional standards, because we believe that God is glorified when we seek to be excellent as we prepare and equip His children.
Standards are a means for the Christian school to measure and assess its effectiveness and its performance. Standards serve an important purpose and have great value to the school as it prepares its school improvement goals and plan. Standards are a tool for accountability.
What is the Common Core/Iowa Core?
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a set of standards developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in 2010. The standards are intended to provide direction to schools in determining what students should know and be able to do at each level of the educational experience so each student will exit high school with the necessary knowledge and skills for college, career, and life. The Iowa Core includes the Common Core with some additional standards.
Does SCCS use the Common Core/Iowa Core?
When each curricular area is reviewed, a team of teachers and administrators examines the Common Core/Iowa Core to determine the desired level of alignment in that curricular area. As we create curriculum that promotes the SCCS vision, mission, and values, we choose to use standards from the Core only if they reflect our desired rigor and do not conflict with our beliefs. Because we are independently accredited, we have the ability to add, delete, and modify the Core. We do not use the Common Core/Iowa Core standards for each curricular area. Check out the bottom of this page to learn which national standards we've chosen to align to.
But the standards are not our ultimate goal. That's why we've chosen to align to certain standards, not adopt a set of standards fully.
We seek to be excellent to the glory of God and seek to continuously improve. We align to standards that are aligned with the mission of the school. Neither Common Core Standards nor any other standards written from a secular viewpoint are fully adopted. Unless standards are written from a biblical foundation and worldview, they can only inform the school as it works toward alignment.
The important word at Sioux Center Christian School is "align", not "adopt".
Alignment requires diligent effort on our part. Continuous school improvement is rigorous. As we seek to identify the standards that are aligned with the school’s mission and that will best lead to instructional improvement and educational excellence, we seek to be well informed.
At Sioux Center Christian School, we view and study standards with discernment. State standards and the standards of the Common Core must inform us in our process to set our own standards, but we always, first and foremost, use our biblical Reformed perspective.
It's important to remember key points when thinking about the Common Core/Iowa Core curriculum.
- The curriculum is a set of standards, not a prescription for what teaching methods to use, what books to use, etc. We still teach from a Christian perspective, and we still decide how we want to teach and what materials to use.
- The curriculum helps us stay on track with national standards. We want to know how our students compare nationally, and we need a way to keep us accountable for what we do in the classroom. While we don't use the Common Core/Iowa Core as the only method of accountability, it is a helpful tool.
- The curriculum helps us to organize what should be taught in which grade level so that we don't cover topics multiple times or leave concepts out. We feel that this has helped our school offer a more cohesive program related to what is taught when and by which grade level.
- One thing we focus on wholly at SCCS is teaching from a Reformed, Christian perspective. The Common Core/Iowa Core then falls under that - not the other way around.
- To learn more about our perspective with the Common Core/Iowa Core, check out the links on the right side of this page.
Sioux Center Christian School has chosen to align to certain national standards to guide our curriculum.
- We have aligned to standards from the Iowa Core Curriculum for literacy, mathematics, social studies, and 21st century skills.
- We've aligned to standards from the Next Generation Science Standards for our science curriculum.
- Our art standards are aligned to those from the National Visual Arts Standards.
- Our physical education standards are aligned to those from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
- Our Bible standards come from Christian Schools International.
- Music standards are aligned to those from the National Association for Music Education.
Read this document to learn more and understand our perspective for using the Common Core/Iowa Core standards at Sioux Center Christian School.
Learn more about the difference between adopting standards and aligning to standards. At Sioux Center Christian School, we align to standards. Why? Check out the document above to find out.
Check out the article linked above to learn more.