March 14, 2012 Common Core and CASD meeting

Shared thinking:

It's going to rock the math world. It's a lot deeper than anticipated. Math is going to be done in context, with real-world problem solving. Tom's glad it's going to be delayed a year for secondary.

Spring 2014: grades 3, 4, 5
Spring 2015: grades 6, 7, 8

When we did curriculum mapping, there was a time crunch to get it done. Teachers need time to work on this, not just a couple PLCs.

Special ed teachers are responsible for multiple curricula, so it's going to be a lot for them to get through all at once.

We have to increase the types of accommodations because the standards are more rigorous.

There's a big emphasis on the speaking standards, especially at the high school level, with debate.

Math standards, too, have a lot about speaking in the standards.

We didn't require the teachers to understand the standards before they mapped the curriculum, but that's going to be essential with Common Core.

Textbooks are usually expository. To get students ready for college, all subject areas must demand the reading of many more informational documents, primary sources, etc. Textbooks are not at pace with the Common Core.

We talked about that in NISL last week. Compare the Japanese textbook with the American.

She found a PowerPoint on ESL. Are you grading content or grading spelling? That was emphasized in the PowerPoint.

It's a scary world. We're not close to getting students proficient within the next year, so we have to change how we approach educating them.

In our shift from standards to Common Core, what do we need to get rid of? We hear from teachers that they need to "get through" something this week because they have to cover something else next week, to get ready for the PSSA by the time it comes.

Unified Arts departments are having "ah ha" moments, when they realize they don't have to teach particular things.

SAS Web site, Common Core, Math: grade level specific essential and non-essential elements.

What would we do differently to impact classrooms?

  • All grades together to give a united front to look at Common Core.
  • Do the same roadshow with principals.
  • Susan wishes we had never bought a model curriculum. Teachers are too hung up on it, and they don't understand it.
  • The goal was supposed to be that they follow a curriculum and not a textbook. Did it change teachers? Chris thinks it was a good lead-in.
  • Teachers who were tied to the textbook were the ones who claim they don't have time for everything. Teachers who understand the curriculum "get it" and know they can teach certain things and not get the entire textbook in.

Chris would rather see a module that is complete from standard learning to how many days to teach it, that Common Core focuses on. What's the module system for social studies for 3rd grade?

Teachers are much more dependent than she had ever expected.
We need to bridge the gap. How are we going to involve all of our teachers at all grade levels?
We seem to be ahead of the game on this. There's time.

What other strategies can we rally around besides summer, PLC, flex days, principal meetings?

What about summer institutes?
  • People are expecting to get together to talk about current curriculum.
  • They're not ready for this.
  • We need to go back to the idea of creating a course, that teachers will dive into and work on.
Is this a K-12 thing?

We need to train new teachers. What about a 2-week training of new teachers, during which time they have a sub in for them in the first two weeks?
  • What if we hire permanent subs for the beginning of the year?
  • What if the district changes the calendar, so teachers have 2 days that they are learning, not working on their curriculum or something else?
  • Would you get a better response with a "train the trainer", where someone from the building is trained and then trains the teachers in the building?
  • What about paying teachers for after-school workshops? Chris: the problem is, getting them to go back and do something with what they learned.
  • Model classrooms -- introduce the Common Core standards, model how to use it in the classroom, then people who visit your classroom must go back to their rooms and implement it. (Or write about how they will implement it?)

Will PLCs be the same next year, with 2 dedicated days during the week? It's a problem with secondary, where Diane has lost 16 days so far this year because of such things as random faculty meetings being called. Principals can't learn all the curricula and still be instructional leaders. Next year they will get a weekly memo from her, saying what should be going on in the classroom that week.

How about putting out a memo at the end of this year saying that Common Core is going to be emphasized next year, and that it will be a learning year? Timing and pacing are important.

We need to focus on 3, 4, 5 for next year. He doesn't know that he wants to make it an initiative. He's wondering what would the 2 weeks look like if the district set up 2 weeks for teacher training.

Pattern it after NISL, where they come in and read, collaborate, produce.

Is there a way to make the salary scale commensurate with the amount of training in Common Core that they have?

If 2 weeks of training is offered, could you then insist that they implement the whole thing the next year?

Could you bank PLC time, and bring the PLC together for a half-day of training, instead of all those half hour PLCs spread out?

Look at the things that have gone well over the past 3 years. Things like HOTS, that were demanded of everyone, worked well because everyone was on board with it.

What do we have in already, that can be used to deliver Common Core?

Can we make it invitation only, so that everyone wants to get an invitation?

How about having building-level experts? That's what you would build your courses around, that people get a Common Core "badge". We could have Phase 1, Phase 2, etc. to move people through the learning.

Closing thoughts:
We need to get more information on how this can be applied to everyone.
Is there a training at the state level for this? Chris would prefer to have us learn it at the ASCD than to send us somewhere else.
He'd like us to learn from other states, too. Go right to the instructional piece.
We haven't talked yet about the teaming concept at CASHS, where 9th & 10th grade could be working together to get Common Core working.
Can we meet with other districts' administrations to see what they are doing? Find someone who is targeting the same strategies.
"We create the cars. We create the vehicles that go somewhere, but someone has to step on the gas."