Sunday, April 28, 2013

Communication is Key To Success of Common Core State Standards

Do you believe that the Common Core State Standards / Ohio's New Learning Standards are good for kids?  I do.  I am not the only one. My support of these standards is based on Evidence.  For those of you who know me, you will recognize that Evidence is my favorite word when talking about the new standards and the new assessments...and a lot of other changes going on in education.
How we go about communicating this Evidence is key to the success of our new standards. There are 6 major areas of focus:
  • Key shifts in teaching, assessment 
  • Alignment and Rigor - Implementing Ohio's New Learning Standards
  • College and Career Readiness - partnership with Ohio Board of Regents
  • Costs and Budget
  • Technology Integration and Implementation
  • Timelines and Legislation

We need to consider not only how we communicate information around these 6 focus areas, but also who our audience is going to be and what is the best medium to use to communicate with them.  There are 6 key groups of stakeholders:
  • Students - most interested in how changes will effect graduation requirements, how they will be assessed, how they will be able to access/use technology in their learning, how their assignments will change, how they will be graded.
    • `Communication about CCSS 
      • teacher directed, informal through classroom discussions
      • parent directed, informal
      • school directed - for MS and HS students through scheduling/course description changes.
  • Teachers - most interested in how changes will effect their unit/lesson development, how will they keep the creativity in their teaching, what teaching materials/texts will be available for them, what they need to do to make the needed shifts to meet expected rigor of the new standards, what professional development will be available,what is the timeline for implementation, what tech skills they and their students will need, how to make sure students are prepared for the new assessments, how assessment results will impact their teacher evaluation, how to communicate shifts to parents.
    • Communication about CCSS -
      • self directed - through social media, professional organizations, conference sessions, web research/resource materials
      • peer directed - through teacher teams, informal collaboration
      • administrator directed - through staff meetings, building level team meetings, scheduled collaborative time, building newsletters and websites, social media
      • district directed - through newsletters, district website, social media, emails, PD offerings, district level team meetings 
  • Administrators - most interested in planning for technology required to meet expectations for new standards and assessments, how to schedule time for teacher teams to work together on shifting to new standards and assessments, what to "look for" to ensure teachers are making the shifts in their classrooms, how to select/design curriculum that is aligned to the standards, how to tie together work being done around the new standards with the new teacher eval system, student growth measures and formative instruction, how to communicate shifts to parents.
    • Communication about CCSS-
      • self directed - through social media, professional organizations, web research, ESC training, regional and state conference attendance.
      • peer directed - social media, district and building website, newsletters, informal collaboration, continuing ed coursework
      • district directed - through admin team/cabinet meetings, district website, email, District Leadership Team, social media, newsletters, allowing attendance at conferences.
  • Parents - most interested in assurance that their students are learning what they need to know to be successful in college or careers as they grow into adulthood, how much it will cost them in increased student fees or tech costs, how students will be assessed, how teachers will communicate learning progress, what they can do at home to support students, how will classroom technology be used safely and equitably.
    • Communication about CCSS
      • self directed - through websites, local and national news
      • peer directed - through PTA meetings and newsletters, community organizations
      • district directed - through district website, emails, newsletters, BOE meetings
  • Community members - most interested in cost to the community, maintaining local control over curriculum decisions, supporting a quality educational system to keep home values up, schools preparing students to be active members of the community.
    • Communicating about CCSS
      • self directed - through websites, local and national news
      • peer directed - through social and political affiliation meetings and publications, social media
      • district directed - through social media, community newsletters, community forums, district newsletters, local media
  • Public officials- BOE members, legislators - costs to the district and state, how to budget for teacher training, curriculum changes and technology upgrades, how to balance/respond to  opposing viewpoints around adopting the standards,  setting aggressive but achievable timelines for implementation, how to increase accountability for student learning - teachers and admins
    • Communicating about CCSS
      • self directed -through websites, local and national news
      • peer directed - OSBA news and conference, ODE updates
      • district/state directed - Reports from stakeholders at BOE meetings, district website, newsletters, policy updates, legislative updates,  technology planning tools, updates from educational leaders, local media

So where do you find the Evidence that you need to communicate about CCSS and Aligned Assessments?  That depends on who you are communicating to and what you want to accomplish by communicating to them!  Here are some resources to help you get started. 

Resources for Questions/Comments on Common Core State Standards

Main CCCSS and PARCC Websites

ODE Websites Related to Standards and Assessments

Ohio Revised Code

Articles about History of Ohio’s New Learning Standards - Including CCSS and PARCC

Sampling of  Articles Supporting CCSS
Sites That Are Critical of CCSS in Ohio

Other Resource Sites for Info on CCSS or PARCC

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