Presidio Schools recently moved to the Common Core academic standards.
And Scott Whitlock, a science teacher and head of curriculum and instruction at Presidio Schools, said it has been an amazing experience for them.
Common Core is a multi-state, nationwide initiative that shifts the focus from teaching knowledge in a vacuum to teaching how knowledge is achieved, he explained.
"What (the method) has forced us to do as teachers is allow our students to be more independent thinkers," Whitlock said. "We still teach facts, but now we put a larger emphasis on how students use those facts, the meaning they derive from those facts, and also just how they are going to use (them) later in their life..."
Listen to this story as featured on Arizona Spotlight:
The Common Core asks teachers to use writing assignments in science and math courses. Whitlock often assigns his students such task, and he's noticed they've began to think more interdisciplinary.
"Suddenly, they are starting to put disciplines together...they see that creativity is (also) alive in science...math," he said. "By incorporating writing in math, a kid who has never gotten the (numerical concept), but is good (verbally), suddenly understands number logic and number expression. This has made a big impact in their lives."
American Graduate segments were produced in corporation with Tucson Values Teachers.