Getting to the Core: The Common Core Institute Project

EngageNY Common Core Institute from EngageNY on Vimeo.

Behind every great lesson is a great teacher. Recognizing the importance and value of teacher classroom experience with regards to curriculum decisions and development, the New York State Education Department promoted a grant opportunity to provide school districts, BOCES, or charter schools with a Common Core Institute Award, with a sponsored Common Core Institute Fellowship. In Fall 2014, the NYSED awarded 13 grants to 10 school districts under New York State’s “Common Core Institute” initiative.

The awards supported district teachers as they served as Common Core Fellows in English Language Arts or Mathematics. During Spring 2015, the Fellows supported school districts’ efforts to build capacity and provide professional development through implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and the enhancement of the optional curriculum modules posted on The grant ended at the end of June 2015, but the benefits of the Common Core Institute Fellows’ work will be felt far beyond the end of the school year.

Valerie LaRose, English Language Arts Fellow from Wappingers Central School District: “Having a group of Fellows from around the state has been a great way to network and connect with colleagues. Hearing about experiences from others and then applying it to our own situations has proven to be a valuable tool. This is especially true when it comes to professional development.”

Eileen Ryan, Mathematics Fellow from Williamsville Central School District: “Overall the most important benefit of this work is that the enhancements give students the genuine opportunity to experience and explore math more independently, developing a true and deeper understanding of math concepts. With an emphasis on a concrete to pictorial to abstract continuum of instruction, students are building a stronger sense of numbers and will be more capable of talking about math with both confidence and precision.”

The following New York State School Districts are recognized as Common Core Institutes:

To hear more from the CCI Fellows, please view the interview videos below, which include discussions about the project and examples of the types of enhancements and professional development.

Enhancing the ELA Modules from EngageNY on Vimeo.

Enhancing the Math Modules from EngageNY on Vimeo.

Some examples of curriculum enhancements to the ELA and Mathematics modules, include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Additional explicit instruction or teacher directions
  • Embedded supports and additional scaffolding (for example, sentence frames or graphic organizers) for students with special needs and English Language Learners
  • Additional problem sets for math
  • Teacher resources and additional supporting materials
  • At-a-glance module overview materials
  • Parent newsletters or other supporting guidance
  • Revised pacing or timing guidelines for the lessons
  • Revised assessments or additional answer keys/student responses
  • Recommendations for technological enhancements
  • Additional text lists (for ELA) for student reading

The Common Core Institute Fellows’ enhanced modules are available on their district websites and can be accessed below.

Common Core Institute Fellows’ Enhanced Modules

English Language Arts


Grade 3 Module 1

Grade K Module 1

Grade 3 Module 2A

Grade 1 Module 1

Grade 3 Module 3A

Grade 3 Module 1

Grade 4 Module 1A

Grade 4 Module 1

Grade 5 Module 1A - Lyndonville CSD

Grade 5 Module 1A - Homer CSD

Grade 7 Module 1

Grade 5 Module 3A - Lyndonville CSD

Grade 5 Module 3A - Homer CSD

Grade 8 Module 1

Grade 8 Module 1

Grade 8 Module 2

Grade 9 Module 1


Grade 9 Module 3


Grade 10 Module 1