New Jersey is committed to preparing students to live and work effectively in the 21st century as evidenced by the vision, mission and goals of the Office of Academic Standards:
Vision: New Jersey citizens have the requisite knowledge to live and work effectively in a complex and dynamic world.
Mission: The creation of a systemic approach to ensure that all New Jersey students are provided with the knowledge and skills to be able to function culturally, politically and economically in a global society.
The 2009 Standards Revision Project reviewed and updated the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards as part of a five-year revision cycle. The key goal of the 2009 revision was to align state content standards with the knowledge and skills needed for post-secondary education and the 21st century workplace. The 2009 electronic standards documents reflect current research, exemplary practices, national and state standards, and standards from other countries. They are also accompanied by online standards support materials.
The standards provide the foundation for the development of curriculum that promotes the use of innovative learning strategies by integrating supportive technologies, inquiry- and problem-based approaches and higher order thinking skills. Online support materials, created to assist with implementation in the classroom, provide instructional guidance for teachers, sample state and performance assessment tasks, links to primary and secondary source documents, exemplar units and lesson plans, and a variety of other web-based resources. The standards document has been recognized by the P21 and the Goldman Sachs/Asia Society Award Programs for the fusion of the three Rs and the four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation) as well as the integration of global perspectives and financial and civic literacy.
The Standards Website Development Project assists with all aspects of standards implementation, including curriculum development, curriculum mapping, instruction, assessment, and professional development. The Website offers educators on-demand access to the standards and related support materials and provides an interactive professional development platform. Electronic tools facilitate the updating of posted materials and the addition of new materials at little or no cost.
The Website search engine allows users to access the standards and cumulative progress indicators by multiple variables (e.g., grade level, content area, strand, keyword, essential questions, and enduring understandings). Document management tools allow users to view, print or download the standards and a host of support documents as needed. A later second phase of Web site development will enable teachers to post lessons, activities and resources through a juried process and will offer Web 2.0 tools to support ongoing professional dialogue and growth.
The Statewide Systemic Professional Development Project provides an organizing framework for Creating 21st Century Schools: The Statewide Systemic Model for Continuous Professional Learning and Growth. The project supports the implementation of the revised 2009 standards through a blended model of professional learning that includes onsite and online learning opportunities. The focus is on the use of research-based instructional and assessment strategies that enable higher levels of student achievement in the content areas. Core learning sessions are offered at no cost to educators along with fee-based sessions throughout the three-year plan. Phase 1 (2009), Awareness and Familiarization, focused on engaging students as digital learners in 21st century learning environments. Phase 2, (2010) Critical transformations, is centered on understanding and using revised standards and online standards support materials and using multiple, flexible approaches for teaching and learning that are relevant to students’ lives and interests. Phase 3 (2011), Sustaining the Change, provides opportunities for deeper learning in all core areas and the creation of models of success that support 21st learning environments.
Phase 1 sessions were offered statewide from July-November 2009 by internationally renowned experts in teaching and learning, Alan November and Ian Jukes, and were attended by over 5,000 education stakeholders with targeted sessions for teachers, supervisors, principals, superintendents and local board members. Phase 2, scheduled for implementation in January 2010, will build upon the learning acquired in Phase 1 and provide small group sessions for targeted audiences of educators that are content and grade level specific. Training will also be provided for administrative teams. The goal is to offer in-service to 25,000 educators over the course of the year with training content specialists in the Office of Academic Standards and state professional organization partners.
A new Office of Math and Science Education has been created to support the development of STEM initiatives in schools throughout the state due to the critical importance of science and math education to the future economy of New Jersey and the United States.
The NJDOE and Rutgers University collaborated with the Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) to plan the January 15, 2010 International Conference. The focus of the conference is on developing globally literate students and provides resources for the creation of 21st century learning environments that support the development of global literacies.