Based on recent posts we have all been involved in a great deal of professional development over the summer. All much needed in light of the myriad changes coming down the pike between Common Core Standards,New Teacher Evaluation, and in some cases, like my building, piloting Standards Based Grading and Reporting. I am excited about each of these new "initiatives" (for lack of a better catch-all word). Each holds tremendous potential improving the depth and outcome of student learning, actionable professional growth and development for teachers, and clear communication with families about student learning and achievement. I am also terrified. Taking on all three in a single year feels like drinking from a fire hose. Each one asks us to reconsider and re-evaluate what we do each day in classrooms: how we impart skill and content knowledge to students, how we communicate their journey to mastery, how we assess our own performance. Not terribly unlike going through National Boards. Yet it seems so much more rides on how we adapt to implement these changes. Not just becuase it is an election year, but because we are reaching the tipping point were the industrial revolution model of educating people is no longer serving us. It is time to change.
So today began a four day Teaching and Learning Institute offered by my district and area ESD. We are unpacking Common Core across content areas, diving into Marzano's framework, figuring out how to report standars-based grades in power teacher, exploring blended learning through classroom blogs and podcasts. It was amazing to see how many teachers came to engage in learning about the changes we need to emabrace.
It was reassuring and thought provoking to listen as others voiced their hopes, fears and questions as we take on these changes. Many teachers voiced their concern about trying to adopt so many new "initiatives" at once. Especially in regard to how Common Core could/would impact New Teacher Evaluation. Another concern was the time and effort being put into moving to standards based grading at the secondary level before Common Core is fully implemented. All valid concerns that will need addressing. I am confident though, given the turnout and quality of conversation we had today, that the teachers in my district, with the support of our new adminstration, can find ways to address those concerns. Look for updates on our progress here throughout the year.