Monthly Archives: December 2010

Common Core Standards 3: The Timeline

This fall we submitted our final scope of work to the New York State Education Department for the Race To The Top initiative, on to which Harlem Link has enthusiastically signed.  Completing this document helped clarify how long we should expect the implementation of its various components to take (although for the most part it proved to be the first evidence that “RTTT” may end up being the bureaucratic sinkhole some commentators fear it is). 

The time frame is aggressive, but I don’t think it needs to be daunting.  Out of the approximately $33,000 allocated to our school, we have earmarked $7,936 of it to fund the revision of our curriculum map in the coming year to meet Common Core Standards.  In our scope of work for the grant we expect that this process will take one year, from August 2011 to July 2012.  Each year, our teachers and administration collaborate on a Curriculum Map, improving upon the previous year’s offering, to plan the units of study, scope and sequence of learning outcomes and activities, assessments and areas of integration for the year.  The process occurs in earnest in the spring and early summer, with the final map published in July.

In reality we will be starting this process and integrating Common Core earlier than next August; at Harlem Link curriculum improvement and revision is an iterative, ongoing process, just as it is recommended to be in the scholarly curriculum mapping literature.  On January 26, our students will be dismissed for a half day and our teachers will spend the afternoon checking in on the curriculum maps and examining any forthcoming revisions that might be needed.  Common Core will be on the menu! 

Even in an environment like ours in which curriculum mapping is always happening, understanding and integrating a whole new set of standards is a challenge.  The only way to approach it is to dive right in, so the time frame for rolling out Common Core should be aggressive.  Not surprisingly, a recent study (hat tip: Catherine Gewerz) concluded that nationwide, most students are not prepared to succeed on assessments based on the Common Core Standards.  I take this news as a hopeful sign that the Common Core standards are indeed more rigorous than the hodgepodge of state standards currently in effect (or not in effect). 

Teachers, start your engines!

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