Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and MEK’s MLC

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and MEK’s MLC

MEK has always strived to keep our curriculum relevant and up-to-date with the latest educational standards. The current MEK Learning Circles Math and English curricula were designed with the Common Core State Standards and  New Jersey Student Learning Standards in mind. We are always working to keep up-to-date with adjustments to state standards!

You can read more details of the Common Core in this blog post.

MLC Math Classes

With the exception of high school level classes, such as MLC Algebra 1 and MLC Advanced Algebra, each grade level of MLC Math is divided into two courses: Operations and Number Sense (ONS) and Problem-Solving Math (PSM).

The ONS classes for each grade level focus on calculation-based skills, such as efficient set up, accurate calculation, and number sense. The PSM classes feature more word problems and hone students’ abilities to recognize keywords, determine appropriate calculation strategies, and use logical reasoning to solve complex problems. Together, the ONS and PSM classes for a single grade level cover all of the Common Core standards for that grade level. For example, the MLC Pre-Algebra 1 ONS and PSM classes correspond to Grade 7 Math Standards, and MLC Pre-Algebra 2 ONS and PSM classes correspond with Grade 8 Math Standards.

The Algebra 1 and Advanced Algebra classes align with ninth-grade topics and techniques. However, in some school districts, advanced and honors students may find themselves learning Pre-Algebra 1 and Pre-Algebra 2 topics simultaneously in seventh grade, and beginning eighth grade with Algebra 1 topics. Advanced students at MEK may find themselves taking MLC Algebra 1 in eighth grade (or even earlier!).

MLC English Classes

Like the Math classes, MLC English classes at each grade level are divided into two courses: Critical Reading classes and Writing.

Critical Reading classes focus on the standards outlined in the NJSLS’ Reading strand–reading comprehension skills, such as:

  • Determining a text’s central themes
  • Assessing point of view and narration
  • Evaluating the reasoning behind claims in a text


Writing classes focus on the standards outlined in the NJSLS’s Writing strand–writing skills such as:

  • Constructing arguments with valid reasoning and relevant evidence
  • Producing written work that is clear and comprehensible
  • Using revision and other techniques to strengthen writing


There is some crossover between the classes. Critical Reading students write essays to defend their interpretations, and Writing students will read articles and stories on which they can base their essays. The combination of the Writing and Critical Reading courses thoroughly covers the Reading and Writing Strands of the NJSLS.

All of the MLC English classes also build on the standards outlined in the NJSLS’ Language strand. Students learn to use grade-appropriate grammar and spelling rules when speaking and writing, to understand figurative language in context, and to use context clues and outside references to learn the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases.

Students in all classes also practice the skills outlined in the Speaking and Listening Strand. MLC English classes include informal class discussions, in which teachers and students review reading assignments and compare writing samples on certain topics. However, due to the structure of MLC classes, the Speaking and Listening standards have less focus than standards for Reading, Writing, and Language.

Instead, the Speaking and Listening standards are given particular focus in the Non-Fiction Reading courses, which are offered at MEK in the Summer semesters. Students who show fluent writing skills but struggle with conveying and understanding ideas and information through the spoken word should seriously consider taking Non-Fiction Reading to boost their comprehension and presentation skills. Non-Fiction Reading also takes a deep dive into technical writing and research.

For Summer 2023, take 2 or MLC courses to get 5% off the combined invoice! This is a good chance to hone both your math and reading/writing skills this summer.

What’s Next?

My fellow teachers at the MEK Learning Circles can’t wait to work with you toward school success! Our Summer 2023 Second Early Bird Discount is underway and available until 6/3, so put down a $300 deposit to get 10% off your registration and another 5% off if you pay in full by the deadline. 

If you are currently taking an MLC course, you will have received your next course recommendation by Week 10 of the course. 

If you haven’t taken an MLC course yet, then take the first step to working with us: a free Student Evaluation to find out where you are versus where you want to be.

I hope to see you soon!

Jessica Conlon

Jessica is a dedicated MLC Math teacher whose passion for mathematics, physics, and teaching helps her give students the tools they need to succeed long-term, both inside and outside the classroom. She teaches students advanced problem-solving skills, higher critical reasoning, and strong study habits.


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