Following two years of development, Florida is set to complete its transition to Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T) standards for the 22-23 school year. While professional development and some components of the new standards were implemented last year, the 22-23 school year marks the full implementation of the new math and ELA curriculum across K-12. Because such a comprehensive shift to a new assessment and standards will impact educators throughout the state, let’s take a closer look at what this will entail and some of the resources that can make the transition as smooth as possible.
A Shift in the Approach of Teachers
Curriculum standards provide a framework for teachers when creating lesson plans and preparing students for assessments. They guide educators in what to teach, what elements of those subjects should be emphasized, and how students will engage with them. Any shift in standards can be challenging because of this: requiring teachers to create new materials, adjust existing lesson plans, and adapt to a new approach. Even experienced teachers with established resources and activities will need to make changes as Florida’s B.E.S.T Standards for ELA and Math are implemented.
The new standards are comprehensive and affect many ways math and reading are taught. Some key differences from the common core standards used in Florida until now include:
Math curriculum is shifting away from the logic-based approach of the common core toward a stronger focus on baseline skills and concepts. Florida’s Education Commissioner notes how B.E.S.T will “focus on the correct answer, not just the method used to obtain it,” and a “balanced emphasis on skills vs. concepts.” Additionally, there will be a focus on “how different topics connect within a grade and from one grade to the next.”
ELA curriculum, implemented in the 21-22 school year, shifts away from excerpt-based reading assignments and toward reading more complete books, framing “learning around classic literature and primary source materials.” Civics education will also be integrated into the ELA curriculum, with a Civic Literacy Test to assess students’ understanding of civic roles and responsibilities.
Supporting Teachers in the Shift to B.E.S.T
Shifting to a new curriculum presents several challenges for teachers, especially amid an unprecedented teacher shortage. It’s crucial to support teachers of all experience levels K-12 as they develop new materials and transition from existing materials to new ones that will support the updated standards.
Educator burnout is pervasive, with 80% of educators feeling overwhelmed following years of COVID-adjusted learning, the ongoing effect of teacher shortages, and increased demands of their time. Adding another layer, the shift to an entirely new curriculum risks further draining teacher resources that could impact student outcomes and teacher performance.
For schools in Florida grappling with this challenge, providing as much support for teachers as possible is important. Boardworks is designed to supplement the curriculum and provide an invaluable resource to teachers who are already being pulled in too many directions. With easy-to-use curriculum supplements mapped to B.E.S.T. and NGSSS standards for ELA, Math, History, and Science, Boardworks can act as a stopgap that supports teachers during this transition period. For schools shifting to Florida’s new Unified Progress Monitoring and Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T) aligned to the B.E.S.T Standards, Boardworks provides K-12 supplements for elementary, middle school, and high school ELA and math.
How Boardworks Supports a Smooth Transition to B.E.S.T Standards
Boardworks is designed to support teachers K-12 across subject areas, providing standards-aligned curriculum support. Boardworks presentations cover English Language Development (ELD) standards for English Language Learners (ELL), address the Mathematical Thinking and Reasoning standards (MTRs) outlined by B.E.S.T, and are built to be easy to use for teachers with limited time and resources. Teacher notes are included to support high-quality instruction and provide ideas for activities in the classroom, activities are embedded throughout presentations, and discussion questions and visualizations are embedded to engage students and check for understanding.
B.E.S.T.’s focus on how different topics connect both within a single grade and from one grade to another can be addressed with the large library of 25,000 Boardworks presentation slides. Teachers can quickly add slides or access presentations from other grade levels and subjects to supplement lessons and help make those connections.
If you’re actively working toward adopting Florida B.E.S.T standards for the 22-23 school year, learn more about how Boardworks can support your efforts and provide the resources and tools your teachers need during the transition.