In preparation, I’ve been spending a great deal of time exploring the on-line resources available to support teachers who are just now trying to grasp the implications of this massive three-pronged reform effort that promises to fundamentally change the nature of public instruction here in NYS (1. P-12 NYS Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics, 2. Data-Informed/Driven Instruction, 3. Annual Professional Performance Review). I am sure my response is not much different from any other New York State educator who has spent time in a similar pursuit. “Wow”! What a massive amount of information to engage, let alone process thoughtfully or implement effectively.
Clearly, my greatest need was to put together some resources that participants in our workshops can use to streamline and simplify their search for relevant and accurate information. The “overview” documents on our resource page are two that I will be using and that we think might be helpful to a wider audience.
Initially I decided to just “scout” the territory and see what is out there on-line to help me.
The “Common Core Standards Initiative – Website Resources” is my most up-to-date effort to compile a list of those sites I’ve found valuable.
You’ll note that I say “up-to-date”! Given that this reform effort is a rather classic example of “rebuilding the plane while it is flying”, the information that is available changes rapidly. Some of the sites I visited last March are no longer current or even on the web. The same goes for some of the information on the sites. Earlier this week a colleague informed me that the research element of the Regents Reform “triad” originally labeled as “Data-Driven Instruction” (D-D-I) was being renamed “Date-Informed-Instruction” (D-I-I). I can’t verify if that is an “official” change from NYSED or a local modification in nomenclature. Either way it makes clear that we must pay close attention to a reform landscape that is shifting as we speak. This is particularly true regarding the still evolving structure of assessments to measure student progress/achievement. It also suggests checking references across sites --- and creating a scorecard to keep track of the acronyms!
By far the most comprehensive site I visited is www.engageny.org. If required to choose only one web resource to consult, this would be the one for me. I do not claim to be qualified in any respect as an expert in website design, but this site seems to have almost everything an educator in NY might need to get started. I found its organization very helpful and easy to maneuver with some practice. Be warned, however, that virtually all the headings on the homepage “menu” (Teachers, Principals, Network Teams, etc) will take you to links that contain multiple pages of documents and/or instructional video clips. Let no one be misled – slick organization cannot disguise the fact that the scope of this reform agenda is all encompassing. New York State educators are going to be held accountable for expectations, understandings, and processes that take hundreds if not thousands of pages to outline and describe. The mass of information is clearly a “Beast”!
A second document I plan to use in our workshops is the “Tour Guide to New York State’s Common Core Resources”. I created this reference to help workshop participants locate specific documents that will help them address direct questions/issues related to the P-12 NYS CCLS. In addition to a brief description about the document, we’ve put in a web link so that an observer can access and download the document as a personal reference.
Neither of these workshop resources is comprehensive and both are certainly subject to improvement. It is also important to once again acknowledge that updated or modified versions of these documents may be available but remain undiscovered at this writing. Having registered these disclaimers, we nonetheless think these are a useful guide to exploring the vast terrain of this reform effort.
Let us know what you think.