This is the first in a series that details our schools efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards. Before we get to that, now is a great time to mention our free webinar on October 17, sponsored by TenMarks, on the topic of Common Core math assessments. Register NOW!
So, from what I’ve heard and have been reading, districts and schools across the country are in the beginning stages of transitioning to the Common Core State Standards. They’re examining crosswalk documents to compare the expiring state standards to their replacements, learning about the shifts and standards of practice, and other exploratory measures. In short, they’re baby-stepping their way toward 2014-15, the first school year during which the new common assessments will be administered.
Well, that’s one way to do it. At our school we’re taking a different approach to the Common Core. We’re going all in. Our steps are Godzilla, not baby, sized. And like a 20 foot tall lizard hell-bent on destruction, we are diving in with a similar commitment to changing teaching and learning in the way that the Common Core calls for. Ok, maybe that’s the worst analogy ever, but I think you get the idea.
Here’s our reasoning…
We Own It
All the hard work will be ours. Everything we build will be designed specifically for our students. It won’t be our teachers trying to fit a round curriculum into a square hole. It will all be built by us, for us.
A Sense of Urgency Exists
Right now, the spring of 2015 seems a long way off. But when you examine some of the sample items for the third grade test, and you look at our current first grade students, you realize how much they have to learn. And you realize that it’s foolish to think spring 2015 is an eternity from now. It will be here before we know it. These six-year-olds will be nine-year-olds in a snap. And if we don’t hurry up and start trying to transition, we’ll be behind. And we owe it to these six-year-olds to have them as ready as possible for a test that looks like it’s going to be daunting, to say the least. If the test in 2015 is the first time they see the kinds of shifts that the CCSS call for in terms of depth and rigor, then we have failed them miserably. We have to start now.
Failure is a Good Thing
Ok, let me be clear. I’m NOT talking about kids’ failure. I’m talking about stumbling and making mistakes in the transition phase. We don’t fear this sort of failure, we welcome it. It’s from failure that we’ll learn the most. If we dive in now and make the changes ourselves, instead of passively waiting for the changes to happen to us, we are certain to fail in some way. But with an attitude that welcomes failure and mistakes and views them as learning opportunities, the idea of messing up becomes less something to fear and more something to embrace.
It’s certainly going to be an adventure. I’ll be keeping you posted, so stay tuned for more posts. I want to share everything we’ve learned, maybe it will help you. And be sure to subscribe to our blog for plenty more updates and resources for Common Core.