The seven students in Nicole Papa’s classroom at East Moriches Elementary School, located in a middle-class Long Island community about 70 miles east of New York City, have all been classified as needing special education services because of diagnoses ranging from autism spectrum disorders to learning disabilities to mood disorders. Papa’s lesson is contained within the first part of the EngageNY English language arts curriculum for New York State fourth graders. Paid for and developed by the New York State Education Department, EngageNY is a set of curriculum materials aligned to the new Common Core State Standards, which aim to prepare students for college and careers by deepening critical thinking and enhancing problem-solving skills. East Moriches follows a very scripted approach to EngageNY and that’s why Papa, an educator with more than 20 years of experience, was initially resistant to the Common Core. She worried that her students, whose reading is two to three levels below others their age, would be unable to handle the increased rigor along with a scripted approach to teaching and learning.