If our district professional development around the CCSS was a young adult novel, last year was a romance. We had been hearing about the CCSS from our friends, but then he moved to town and we got to know him. Turns out we had tons in common and we started going out. Of course there were those early relationship bumps – really, less fiction and more nonfiction? Plus the haters – he’s no good for you, you don’t know where he’s coming from – but you rode it out and you’re still together. You had a great summer learning more about each other. You wrote his name all over your lesson plan book and your syllabus. Sweet and satisfying.
So far, professional development this year around the CCSS is like an sequel with more action and adventure. The relationship is taken for granted. Of course you guys are dating. It’s serious! And together you’re going to conquer the Smarter Balanced test in the spring. It won’t be easy. But you have plenty of friends who will walk along with you and who will help you avoid a terrifying dip in your test scores.
Based on our beginning of the year professional development workshops, here are some proposed chapter titles and summaries for this year’s action-packed second book in the CCSS and Our District series.
What Brought You Together?
Just a quick review of how your relationship started. You’re a diverse district with lots of potential and plenty of room to grow. He’s got high standards, intriguing curricular shifts, and a cute grin.
Training for the Smarter Balanced Challenge
You won’t go into the Smarter Balanced cold. There are interim assessments for you and coaches to help you access, interpret, and use student data so that standards can be met. It will be easy to identify students who aren’t meeting a particular standard and to plan interventions for them. Online quick checks can be used at any time to help you stay on track.
You Can Count on Your Tech
Every adventurer needs the right tools. You’ll want plenty of computer time to make this all work. Four hours per section for each of the interim assessments. Around six weeks of testing in the spring. Your tech support team is working to make sure wireless, broadband, and hardware are there when you need it.
You Know What to Expect
You are already masters of close reading and multiple choice questions. But can you figure out how to do linked multiple choice? How about questions with multiple correct answers? How will you respond to short and extended response prompts? When faced with technology enhanced questions, what will you do? Training in these areas all year in all subjects will help you confidently face the Smarter Balanced challenge.
Happily Ever After
Your district and the CCSS defied expectations! You’re still together and you met what looked like an insurmountable challenge to your relationship. Success on the Smarter Balanced test allows you to head off together, ready for a satisfying experience in college or maybe a more immediate career.
And, like the best young adult fiction, Hollywood is optioning your story! Look for CCSS and Our District at a theater near you.
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