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Differentiated Teacher Professional Development=College and Career Ready Students

I was reading my colleague's post today and she referenced in her writing a question posed to us during a recent Common Core in-service. How much will our classrooms change as we implement the Common Core State Standards?  The answer to this question:  it depends on what you currently do in your classroom.

Some teachers will need to dramatically change their MO in the classroom while others will only have to make adjustments to their content.  An effective classroom (Common Core or not) has the following characteristics:  student-centered versus teacher-centered, interactive and engaging rather than sit and get, a rigorous and meaningful curriculum instead of a teach-to-the-test mindset.  The greatest teachers understand that the "test' is incidental to the learning.  In other words, if learning is occurring than the "test" is a no brainer.

So, what does this look like?  Not to be a negative Nelly, but maybe I can describe what it DOES NOT look like.  My daughter (who is now a sophomore) has always been a very conscientious student.  By the sixth grade she already was pretty clear on what it would take to become valedictorian of her graduating class and put a plan in place to achieve this goal.  No rose colored glasses for her!  She recognized that to make this happen she would need to memorize the facts that would be on the test (at least until she completed the test) and turn in all of her homework on time so that she wouldn't lose points.  For her (and many other students), real life begins AFTER high school.

Recently, I listened to a webinar with Todd Whitaker, professor at Indiana State University, prominent educational author and presenter.  He made a statement that really resonated with me, that we all do the best that we know how to do.  For years, teachers and administrators have done exactly as they have been trained to do.  We have been accountable not for the learning but for the test scores.  In implementing the Common Core practice and content standards, creating appropriate and differentiated professional development for faculty and staff is as critical as providing appropriate and differentiated classroom instruction.

The problem  is not a teacher problem or a student problem or an administrator problem it is a systems problem that requires a systems approach to the creation of classrooms that are invigorating, engaging and that address the needs of the students sitting in the seats right now!  The Common Core Standards give us that opportunity to re-focus on not just the Content Standards but how we put these standards into practice.

Two ways that you can set your building and/or district up for continued growth:

Professional Development Needs Assessment:                                

ESSDACK consultants will conduct a district and/or building needs assessment through disaggregation of data obtained through:

  • Review of your district and/or building mission and goals and achievement data
  • Faculty, staff, administrator, and student interviews
  • Faculty, staff, and administrator written needs assessment survey

Discussion of the disaggregated data with school personnel resulting in a professional development plan tailored to meet the needs of teachers’ and support staff, having a direct impact on student learning.

Planning for Systemic Change Services at ESSDACK

Board of Education/Administrative Goal-Setting Retreat:  ESSDACK is able to facilitate short term goal-setting sessions with school boards and/or administrators.  This format will open dialogue around the district mission statement and help school leaders and decision-makers to establish priorities for the upcoming school year.

Long-Range Planning for Systemic Change:  Facilitation in the establishment of a long-range plan involves;  community members, school board members, administrators, teachers, parents, staff, and students.  The desired result of future planning is to develop a fluid document that is used to guide the district in establishing priorities based on the school district mission.  The process involves interviewing and surveying stakeholders to create a needs assessment that will guide the process.  Process steps will be determined by the unique needs of each individual district or school, beginning with review and/or revision of the district mission and current goals.  Representative involvement by those in the entire school communities is an integral part of this process.  Opportunities to monitor plan implementation will be built into the plan to ensure integrity.

Contact Marci Shearon @ or phone 1.620.727.7267 for further information.




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