Confused about the Core Curriculum?

South East Junior High

What is the Common Core Curriculum?

The Common Core Standards state guidelines for what every student should know or be able to do in a subject at a specific grade level. They do not tell teachers how to teach or require teacher to instruct in a certain way.

These guidelines are listed as standards and are the learning goals that you children will meet as they progress through their classes here at South East.

Why Use the Common Core Curriculum?

Common Core Standards are beneficial because they allow teachers, schools, and parents to measure student progress throughout the school year; as well as year after year.

When schools use the Common Core Standards, parents can be sure that their children will be learning the same things as children throughout the country are. Since we use the Common Core Standards here at South East, you don't have to worry about your children not learning as much as students who attend other schools around the country.
Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards

The Core Curriculum at South East

Here at South East, our teachers have worked hard to align their assessments with the Common Core Standards. What that means is, the assignments, tests, projects, and papers your children will complete throughout the year are designed to assess your child's understanding of the standards for their grade and subject area.

Below is an example of the "Big Understandings" that the 7th grade science team has put together that all students will learn in the different units throughout the school. This not a list of the actual standards themselves, rather a simpler version of them that is easier for students to understand.

7th Grade Life Science "Big Understandings" List

Unit 1: Experimental Design: Studying People Scientifically

1. Well-designed experiments control variables, use a control, collect appropriate data, and are reproducible.

2. Humans as test subjects, presents unique challenges in experimental design, ethics, and the drawing of


3. Scientific investigations (especially those involving human subjects) involve trade-offs.

Unit 2: Body systems: Digestion, Circulation, Respiration

1. The body is made of systems that perform vital functions.

2. The body systems are interconnected and depend on one another.

3. The body is organized at different levels including cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems.

Unit 3: Micro Life: Germ Theory, cell biology, microbes, diseases, immunity.

1. Infectious diseases are caused by germs which are transmitted in a variety of ways.

2. Germs include bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.

3. Diseases may be prevented in a variety of ways including hand washing and the use of vaccines, antibiotics, and quarantine.

4. The use of disease prevention methods have trade-offs including the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

5. Cells are the basic unit of life.

6. The structure of cells is related to their function.

7. Microbes play a variety of roles other than as pathogens

Unit 4: Genetics: Reproduction and heredity, Predicting traits, human traits.

1. Every organism has a set of instructions for specifying its traits.

2. Genes contain hereditary information that determines traits such as blood type and eye color.

3. Reproduction is a characteristic of all living systems, and breeding experiments can provide information about

the behavior of genes.

4. Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature through observations, experiments, and theoretical and

mathematical models.

Unit 5: Evolution: Fossil stories, natural selection

1. Most species that have once lived on this earth are extinct, and species alive today are descendants of earlier ones.

2. Geological time is vast, and microbial life has existed on Earth for much of Earth’s history.

3. Natural selection is the process by which species evolve.

4. Evolution is a continual process as environments continue to change.

5. Variation is present in any population of organisms.

Unit 6: Ecology: Plants, animals, and their environment

1. The energy driving the Earth’s ecosystems comes mainly from the sun and flows through ecosystems in one

direction; matter continuously cycles through Earth’s ecosystems.

2. Ecosystems comprise complex interactions involving both living organisms and non-living factors.

3. Humans play an increasingly significant role in all the world’s ecosystems.

4. Biodiversity ensures stability in any ecosystem, large or small, and the loss of biodiversity is a major concern.

*A list like this for any specific class can be found attached to the syllabus of each course. Syllabi are distributed to all students and are available for viewing on all teacher's websites.