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The implementation of new Common Core State Standards should not be about adding on to existing curriculum but starting anew with a focus on literacy skills and rich content as a firm foundation in all subjects and grade levels.

CCSS + PLC = ISL (Improved Student Learning)

The adoption of the Common Core State Standards, along with a continued nationwide movement towards professional learning communities, has created a sense of urgency to make positive change in schools. Let’s take advantage of the adoption of the new standards as a way to introduce the concept of professional learning communities, one of the most powerful ways to improve student learning by focusing on team goals, results and collective responsibility for all students.  PLCs require major shifts in school cultures.  But, can we morally continue to do what we’ve always done knowing it isn’t successful?  To learn more about the shifts that will take place and begin the conversations among your colleagues, take a look at Getting Started: Reculturing Schools to Become Professional Learning Communities by Robert Eaker, Richard DuFour and Rebecca DuFour.  The authors provide us with a great framework on how to implement PLCs in your school.   Let’s use the adoption of the CCSS as impetus for positive change and continue with the creation of PLCs!

Time to do some weeding

This change, however, is complex and requires a strong focus and commitment. Doug Reeves talks about the importance of high implementation and the effects on student achievement. Only the highest levels of implementation have a positive effect on student achievement. Let this research motivate you to get where you need to be in your class, department or school.  High implementation requires strong leadership and commitment to “weeding” outdated or ineffective programs and practices to make room for new more productive growth.  It is not always easy for some schools and individuals to let go of “stuff” but as our schools undergo change in this challenging economic and political climate we must make sure that we are maximizing our resources to ensure that all students succeed.  This may require asking some difficult questions, making sure we evaluate effectiveness of initiatives, create a systematic protocol to ensure that existing resources are being used properly, and keep student achievement at the center of all conversations and decisions.  Sometimes, we have everything we need but aren’t using it effectively.

Starting from scratch is frightening and overwhelming to many.  But, is it really more overwhelming than adding on more yearly initiatives that are forgotten the following school year?

Our e-book Implementing the Common Core will provide you with a design template to create engaging units of study around the Common Core.  There is no need to create a template.  We have provided you with the framework.  You have the opportunity to customize it to the needs of your students.

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