Although they’ve been learning about the upcoming Common Core curriculum for several years Forest Park Elementary School District 91 teachers will be attending a Common Core “boot camp” at the beginning of the school year during an institute day on Aug. 21.

Superintendent Lou Cavallo told the school board at an Aug. 8 meeting principals and other administrators already attended an intensive session led by the Common Core Institute, located in Oakbrook Terrace.

“We have been teaching the Common Core learning goals for several years now,” Cavallo told the board. “This is a more intensive preparation to get teachers ready as the new standards go into effect.” Two other boot camp sessions will take place later in the year.

Cavallo characterized the Common Core changes as not a new educational fad, but a direction that American education was already going before it was hijacked by No Child Left Behind.

“No Child Left Behind came along and creativity and deeper understanding went out the window,” Cavallo said. Teachers crammed too much material into the curriculum so students would tag learning milestones on the ISAT standardized tests.

Common Core has its own assessment, the PARCC. Cavallo said the emphasis on non-fiction reading comprehension will be a big change.

“The expected reading lexile score will go up two grade levels, on average,” Cavallo said. “They are being asked to read and understand much more complex texts.”

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...