While most teachers are becoming familiar with the Common Core, and most administrators have participated in getting their teachers up to speed, we've been hearing from administrators, who also have changing responsibilities when using the Common Core. Tab draws on her broad experience as an administrator to answer some of the questions.
What an exciting time to be a school administrator! The adoption of the Common Core State Standards for English- language arts and mathematics by 46 states opens the door to a new age in education. Now the nation can benefit from a set of rigorous, coherent and focused standards intended to ensure that ALL students are prepared to succeed in the workforce or in postsecondary institutions. No matter where students live, they will have an equal opportunity to receive a high quality education built around a common set of standards. Teachers across many states will have a clearer understanding of the knowledge and skills students need to be successful in the 21st century and beyond. And finally, we can all benefit from sharing best practices, lessons, assessments, experiences and challenges in a concerted effort to meet the needs of our students. Well if you are like many others, questions must be swirling around in your mind about the CCSS. The CCSS are not a fad and have the potential to really change the “what” and the “how” at the heart of the teaching/learning cycle. They provide us with an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been, to clearly see where we are going, and to determine the best way to achieve our educational goals. This is the first time in our history that states will share a common set of standards, and as a result, also share instructional strategies, techniques, assessments and resources. Now, the real issue for you as an administrator becomes: Can you effectively engage your teachers, parents, students and the community in a discussion around the CCSS? Are you ready to create a level of excitement for your students, staff and community – a real BUZZ – around these new standards and the revitalization of standards-based instruction? Will you lead this initiative in your building and/or district, will you be a follower, or will you stand on the sidelines? This is the time for you, as an administrator, to be the “Big Dog” because unless you are the lead dog, the scenery never changes. This is your chance to give energy and attention to how student achievement can be supported and expectations can be raised! Leadership requires special knowledge, values, skills and abilities. Experience, professional development and motivation are critical factors to help you lead your staff during this exciting time. Let’s make this journey together and share insights, successes and challenges. Are you ready to dip your toes in the pool?
Here are some talking points you can use to kick-start the conversation: WHAT: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative for English language arts and mathematics (“what we teach” and “how we teach”) English-language arts Standards K-12 Include standards for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects Mathematics Standards K-12 Include mathematical practices and mathematical content WHY only English-language arts and mathematics? These two subjects are the most frequently assessed – and are pivotal for No Child Left Behind. They form a foundation upon which students build skill sets in other subject areas. WHO: The CCSS were developed by teachers, parents, administrators and experts from across the country through the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). They have been formally adopted by 46 states. WHY? To ensure that students graduating from high school are well prepared to enter the workforce or go to college. HOW: The following criteria guided the development of the CCSS. The CCSS are: * internationally benchmarked to standards of top-performing countries * evidence and research-based * a path to prepare students for success in a global economy * aligned with expectations for college and career success * realistic * clear, focused, coherent, and rigorous * content focused and include the application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills * consistent across states so that a student’s location does not change the standard of education provided * an “inch wide and a mile deep” To run with the Big Dogs, you have to lead, follow or get out of the way. Which option will you choose? Let’s join together to be leaders in this initiative and provide our staffs, students and community with information, guidance, support and insights to make things happen for children!