Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to Tackle Initiative Overload

Many game-changing programs are under way or in the works in Massachusetts, and district leaders feel overloaded and unsure how to prioritize.

Followers of this space know that Massachusetts expects 'near full' implementation of the 2011 Curriculum Framework (Common Core) in the upcoming school year. Race To The Top districts roll out the Model System for Educator Evaluation this fall, with all other districts following suit in the next year. Many districts will spend this summer planning to implement the Massachusetts Tiered System of Supports. And one cannot overlook the implications of the new ELL approaches and proficiency standards (RETELL and WIDA) and the Massachusetts Teaching and Learning Platform (edwin).

What are some points of intersection among these initiatives? Each initiative provides a part of the answer to the Dufours' questions:
  • What do we want our students to learn?
  • How will we know if our students are learning?
  • What will we do when students don't learn?
Or to this related question:
  • How do we know our teaching is effective?
Answering these questions can guide us in crafting a sensible, manageable implementation plan.

More to come; please comment below.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who Has a Plan?

This space has been focused on model curriculum units for the last several weeks. On a visit to California schools, I was reminded of the importance of beginning at the beginning.

Out in California, districts are cranking out CCSS implementation plans-- road maps defining what districts will do over the next three years to bring to classrooms the shifts defined by the Common Core. Here's an example from the Martinez Unified Schools. When viewing the Martinez plan, note that it does not yet include SMART goals. (Fun fact: California has a thousand districts.)

Who among us has created an implementation plan, especially one as detailed and comprehensive as that outlined in PARCC's Implementation Guide?

If your district has a plan, please let me know. And if you'd like help creating one, get in touch. Or if you think you don't need to map out your plans, please explain why in the comment section below.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

New Tri-State Rubrics Guide Model Unit Creation

Folks at DESE worked with New York and Rhode Island educators to create these tri-state rubrics. Used to evaluate model curriculum units and guide the feedback being provided to the teacher teams that created them, this tri-state rubric is a useful tool that will soon be offered to a wider audience.

Education leaders in New York see the value of the rubric and are introducing it to teachers before they begin building their model units. Massachusetts is considering a similar step as it moves into year two of the three year model curriculum unit project.

In addition, Achieve will incorporate the tri-state rubric in its work in an upcoming 18 state model unit project.

Please add questions or comments below-- remember that you can post them anonymously!