Curriculum Corner

September 2017

Standards for Mathematical Practice

Our focus for the year will be to ensure we are providing opportunities to apply what they learn and how they apply their ideas for math. However, as a parent, what are these standards and what do they mean?
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
Students should be able to explain the meaning of a problem and actively look for ways that it can be solved. Instead of jumping right into an attempt at a solution, students need to critically analyze the math problem, speculate about the form and meaning of the solution, and plan a pathway to get there.

2. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
When constructing arguments, students should consult definitions, theorems and previously established results. They will need to justify their conclusions by building a logical progression of claims and using examples. It’s also important that they be able to distinguish correct reasoning from that which is flawed.

3. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
Making sense of quantities and their relationships when problem solving is an important math skill for students to possess. This involves creating coherent arguments and using symbols to represent mathematical situations. Students should be able to use the different properties of operations and objects flexibly.

4. Model with mathematics
This brings math outside of the classroom. Students must have the skills take what they’ve learned in math class and apply it to situations they encounter in everyday life. What this means will evolve as students mature and work their way toward high school graduation.

5. Attend to precision
Good mathematical practice also involves the ability to communicate what one has learned. Students must be able to use mathematical definitions to clearly and accurately explain their reasoning. In addition, they should be precise about units of measure and labeling axes.

6. Use appropriate tools strategically
When solving math problems, students will need to consider the tools they have available to them. This can range from pencil and paper, to a calculator, to math software or a protractor. They should be able to identify which tool will be most helpful and use it appropriately.

7. Look for and make use of structure
Students should be able to discern patterns and structures in math. What this means varies depending upon grade level. Elementary math students, for example, should know that 4+5 and 5+4 mean the same thing. High school students will need to note regularity in the way things cancel out when expanding an equation.

8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
More advanced math students should be able to recognize when calculations are repeated and be constantly looking for shortcuts. As they work through math problems, students should continually reevaluate if they are on the right track.

What is IDR?

If you aren't in the field of education, you likely don't know what IDR stands for and what it means for your child. IDR is Independent Daily Reading. Some might say it is the "Daily 2" when compared to the structure of the Daily 5. This year our 4th and 5th grade teachers are implementing IDR. This structure is an opportunity for students to read and write daily. As I have shared in the past, the research shows the more we read and write, the better we are at both.

The researchers conclude that “among all the ways children spent their time, reading books was the best predictor of measures of reading achievement reading comprehension, vocabulary, and reading speed, including gains in reading comprehension between second and fifth grade” (285)

Independent Daily Reading is…

  • A structure to support students in daily independent reading
  • Explicit instruction on reading strategies to help students work through challenges as they read independently
  • Time for students to practice applying what has been taught in an authentic way
  • Students taking charge of their learning
  • Teachers conferring with students about their reading and writing
  • Naturally differentiated
  • Students discussing books
  • IDR provides students independent reading time to choose and read books based on their interests. Teachers work with students to set reading goals so that they are engaged in reading. Our goal is to create lifelong readers ready for the demands of college and careers.

This structure enhances the rigor of our program by providing more time for our students to read and write, and conference with their teachers about both. It provides them the opportunity to apply what they are learning on a daily basis. This change in our programming in both 4th and 5th grade will help strengthen our students as they move on to middle school.

Unlike some of the projects or assignments that we have used in previous years, this program requires more reading and writing. It puts back into place instructional time that was lost while putting together posters or presenting projects quarterly. While the projects in previous years were beneficial to our students, we believe this consistent weekly expectation provides more opportunity for reading and writing. It also ensures that students are applying correctly the strategies being taught weekly versus quarterly. With the demands our students face to be college and career ready, we wanted to ensure that rigor in the intermediate grades was in place from the beginning of the year. As with any profession, we are reflective about our programs. We always want to consider ways to improve and grow. We look forward to seeing the development of our students as strong readers and writers.

Homework Guidelines

Dear CLES Families,

As we shared at back to school night, CLES is making some changes to our homework assignments. Our menu format for mathematics and our focus on reading every night in all grade levels is in alignment with the Howard County homework policy. Overview of the grade level expectations for homework:

Homework Guidelines

Grades Pre-K – 2

  • Amount of Homework: No more than 20 minutes of homework per night will be assigned. In Pre-K and Kindergarten there will be no assignments that must be submitted to the teacher.
  • Purpose of Homework: Homework provides practice opportunities for skill development.
    • Families are encouraged to read to or with their children nightly.
  • Families are encouraged to practice grade appropriate math facts or related activities on a nightly basis.

Grades 3 – 5

  • Amount of Homework: The benefits of homework increase as students age. For homework duration, approximately one to four hours of homework per week is suggested for each student in Grades 3 – 5, with no more than 30 minutes required per night in grade 3, 40 minutes in grade 4, and 50 minutes in grade 5.
  • Purpose of Homework: Homework assignments usually reinforce previously taught skills and may prepare students for future lessons, promote creativity, and/or be a reflection on the student’s day at school.

Family Friendly Information

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month?

Let’s make sure our CLES Families are Emergency Prepared!

Be Informed

The following resources are available to help your family prepare for an emergency.

Plan Ahead

Talk to the members of your family and make a plan.

Take Action

Get involved with your community. Take advantage of available training.

(Thank you Mrs. Parham for this wonderful wealth of resources!)

Skills for our Students - Top Ten skills

Why do we emphasize problem solving at school? How important is it to learn how to work with others? See the list of skills employers want in their employees. This list is much different than it was when we were growing up!

Food and Nutrition - HCPSS - Highlights from Policy 4200 Meal Charges

· Food & Nutrition Services will send emails to parents indicating the student’s outstanding meal account balances.

· Lunch payments can be made either in the cafeteria or at

· Students will not be deprived a meal if they do not have money on a given day.

· Food and Nutrition Services will allow students to purchase regular meals until their unpaid meal account balances reach the limit of $16.00. After the limit is reached, students will be offered an alternate meal at the cost of $1.75 at which time the $1.75 amount will accrue for each day charged.

· All unpaid meal account balances will be carried over from the prior school year.

· Food and Nutrition Services have accounts set up at schools for parents and community members who would like to donate funds to help pay for student’s outstanding meal charges.

· The point of contact for questions about meal charging and donations to cover outstanding meal charges is Ms. Sandra Lane, Technical Assistant. Please email Ms. Lane ( the contact information of your designee. This designee will work with Ms. Lane to reach out, notify and support parents with outstanding meal balances.

What is happening at CLES?

CLES Twitterverse - Not signed up for Twitter?

See what you missed over the last couple of weeks!

Emergency Operations Plan

CLES Emergency Response Plan

The safety of your children, our staff, and our school is always our highest priority. Every year with the help of our Central Office, we develop a Multi-Hazard Plan. In the event of an emergency situation at Centennial Lane Elementary School or one of the areas adjacent to it, this plan provides a framework for emergency operations that will enhance our ability to protect students, staff, visitors, and school facilities. Additionally, the plan sets forth the staff members’ responsibilities during and after a wide range of emergency and disaster situations that may occur. This Plan is not intended to restrict options, describe or mandate every action that should be taken during the response to an emergency, or limit judgment. It has been prepared in compliance with legal requirements and in cooperation with the Howard County Public School System’s Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning Team.

In the event of an emergency situation at our school, or one of the areas adjacent to it, the administration may implement one of the following procedures most appropriate to the safety of our students and building occupants:

Building Evacuation and/or Reverse Evacuation:

Upon announcement or activated alarm, all building occupants exit the building via the closest, safe exit and assemble in predetermined areas. In the event that an evacuation has been issued, and the exterior environment of the school becomes unsafe, all persons outside will be directed to return to the inside of the building.

Duck, Cover, and Hold: In the event of a situation where we need to take cover, students will duck under their desks or tables, cover their heads with theirs arms and hands, and remain in place until they get the “all clear” signal from administration. All visitors, parents, or staffs are also required to participate in this procedure.

Lockdown: In a lockdown, exterior and interior doors are locked. Students are told to move away from windows and keep low. Curtains and blinds are closed. Lights are off. Only emergency talking is allowed. Students, who are outside at recess or a P.E. class, will come back into the building. Signs are posted on doors instructing anyone who tries to get inside the building to leave the school premises immediately. Staff has been trained to take the situation very seriously, with an assumption that an intruder could actually be in the building.

Modified Lockdown: The modified lockdown takes similar precautions, but allows movement within the building. Students may continue to work at their desks with lights on and move about the building. Access to the building will be restricted.

Off-Site Evacuation: In this response, we may determine that we need to evacuate the students further away from the building to ensure their safety. We have designated three locations for our off-site evacuation and transportation to those sites may be provided by HCPSS if necessary. Students will be released to parents or other individuals listed on the student's emergency form. Please keep in mind that no student is released to any individual who is not specifically listed as an emergency contact person, including an older sibling. All adults must show photo I.D. when picking up a student.

Shelter-in-Place: These procedures involve housing students in the building until the danger has passed. The direction to Shelter-in-Place will only be implemented in a situation where the environment is so critically dangerous that it would be unsafe for parents to travel to schools and for schools to open their doors thereby exposing those inside to an external hazard.

Parents can help by:

  • · Providing and updating the most accurate, up-to-date health and emergency information on your child to our school office and your child’s teacher.
  • · Ensuring your own safety.
  • · Refraining from calling the school during an emergency situation; it overloads the phone lines which must be used for communications outside our building during an emergency.
  • · Refraining from rushing to the school to pick up your child in the event of an emergency. It creates congestion and can delay the tasks of emergency responders and school staff in responding to the emergency.


Dear Families,
Please find information about assessments given by the County here.