Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Iowa CORE - who has a handle?

With anything new, there is some level of confusion. Iowa CORE seems no different. When the information is being developed and taught simultaneously, how do we keep it all straight? What is the "handle" that we can grasp to make this concept useable?

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10 comments:

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Kastendieck said...

okay time to talk Iowa Core. I have been told this a big discussion point in any administrative interview. So what discussion points would you want a future administrator to comment on? How much research would you expect?
Give me your answers to your above post so I can see where you are coming from?

Marshall said...

Answers?? You come here looking for answers??

Now I know you are grasping. I am FULL of questions, have ideas to share, love to learn, enjoy the banter of opinions, and want to set the world on it's ear...but answers?

Here's my current take as you asked:
1) Discussion points - Theory. What do you really think this means? What ideas would you be thinking should be incorporated? How does that concept become reality? Why is this important to you (or is it)?
2) Research - Awareness. First the 21st Century Skills: Finance, Employability, Technology, Civics, and Health. You'll need to be able to demonstrate what those mean to you and how they will combine with the curriculum of other areas, which are still part of the Iowa Core. Also, knowing the three parts of the Iowa Core - Curriculum, Delivery, and Assessment - are all inter-twined parts of the big picture. Most of the data, including 21st Century Skills is focused on the Curriculum. The AEA has stressed the three parts must come together, but the current focus has been the content portion.

When I posted this, I was clearly asking the question as well. I'd like someone that understands this better than me to put a structure in place that would simplify it and create some kind of tracking

So there's the two cents from me, and you should clearly expect change. The biggest thing is that what you know about it and how you approach it are in line with your perceptions of what you want to do in the job. Really that is no different than any position - know what you believe and be true to yourself.

Kastendieck said...

My concern with Core Curriculum (Model Curriculum) is that which you have noted in your first paragraph. Development of the idea and implementation at the same time. The theory is to raise student expectations and engage all in higher expectations and challenge teachers to create meaningful content. How is this different from what we were taught in college? If by implementing this through the state legislative law process and putting time limits on it make it so I will a moment to remember. When this entire process started (model curriculum under Gov. Vilsack) many of the discussion points came from reports from around the world of how test scores in the US are behind countries like China and India. How many times do we have to hear that? Yes if we just tested the college bound in our country the scores would not indicate a divide. In those countries if you are handicapped you die or beg, we send our disabled to school and then test them and report the test scores. The theory that schools should take the standard and benchmarks, match them to the core curriculum, and that will result in enhanced student achievement makes sense. Looking at how the state is implementing it does not. How much training is being given that is worth while and how many staff are being trained is not enough. The key to the entire process is how is the success of this idea going to be evaluated? Enough rambling for now I won't be able to post if I don't shut down.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about Iowa Core in an administrative aspect I feel this is an area in curriculum that has to be lead by a team (staff and administration) and also team leading by administrators in the area with similar school climates and cultures. The AEA has tried to take the lead but seems to be unable in grasping how to facilitate the core curriculum and especially 21st century skills into the daily routine of teaching. So we have legislative implementation of a required program that is introduced and implemented by the AEA and a deadline set for for school district adoption. Where are the educational professionals with classroom experience in this edict? Trying to sort out the information, comply with the deadlines, and teach all at the same time. This is my bitch for the moment. Next will by my sorting out and perhaps ideas for compliance that actually benefits education which is the students.

Marshall said...

Anonymous, you seem to have a good handle on the current situation. As a matter of fact, you could easily be a member of my faculty with some of the comments. We are moving forward with a basically administrative team attending a training led by the AEA. At this point, it seems that we aren't really going anywhere using that model. However, behind the scenes, the conversations that teachers are having and the awareness of 21st Century skills is building. It's our goal to include these in either existing classes or with new core opportunities for all students, but the specifics aren't really there yet. Reaching 100% of students in the high school setting means that the skills must be implemented through either core content, specific classes, or pathways that ensure all students enroll.

It always concerns me with the legislative thing as well. The mandates that are given are frequently without a focused effort to include those in the classroom. I'm sure there is some more informal guidance, but a few buddies giving ideas is certainly not a great way to gather statistically competent data. Teachers know what can be done and IS being done in the classroom, and much of what is mandated is there. The real difficulty is in applying this to the "daily routine of teaching" as you so nicely put it. With that goes the tracking of student data and successes - not a small task to add to a teacher's day.

I am really glad that you joined the conversation and encourage you to continue your thoughts here. I would especially like to hear your ideas for compliance as they develop. Good ideas are always hard to come by, and (trust me here) if you have some good stuff, you will find both support and refinement here. It's a great way to think things through before you present to a facutly, colleague, or administrator. Your insights and concern for kids are evident - thanks.

Anonymous said...

The idea that the first implementation of the Iowa Core and 21st Century Skills plan is due this July is interesting and frightening. Most High School Administrators have put the process of investigation and instruction of themselves and school curriculum leadership teams to the guidance of the AEA. The AEA has provided what leadership they can give in the form of power point presentations given my curriculum reps who are interpeting what the state mandated. The entire cycle starts with almost every new buzz word concept that has the goal to improve education (scores) in Iowa. ie Differentiated Learning, Guided Reading, Collaborative Learning. So much for local control. How much evaluation (yes the AEA does have an evaluation form at the end that everyone rushes to finish so they can get out of the meeting). does the power point presentation have in relation to improving the power point. (sarcasm font) So now that the section of the implementation form can be filled out with dates staff went to meetings, next is the part of the form that indicates District and accredited nonpublic schools must:Respond to all outcomes and targets of the implementation plan which in two more years of AEA guidance and power points (please let there be handouts of the powerpoint to take notes on)will enable all high schools to "Complete an initial alignment of local content with Core Curriculum Essential Concepts and Skill Sets in Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and 21st Century Skills (Civic Literacy, Health Literacy, Financial Literacy, Technology Literacy, and Employability Skills) and steps to address any gaps (GAPS a nice way of saying ITED questions not taught and that will relate in lower scores for the school) This all done by July 2012. So pink slip all ART, BAND,HOME EC, VOC TECH teachers and get those gaps sealed and 21st century skills taught and watch the test scores rise.

Marshall said...

Isn't it amazing that this is exactly the concept that NCLB believes will work? Just be more intense with Reading, Math, Science and the Core Curriculum concepts, and we'll fly on through this school improvement thing! There is clearly some introspection needed and I believe that a vast amount of the required skills are being taught throughout the existing curriculum. The key is to be sure that we are collectively able to effectively identify how and where EACH student LEARNS the 21st Century skills. It seems like a mountain of a spreadsheet or additional report card (yes, you can read that, "More paperwork nightmares to ensure that educators aren't slacking and failing students.") so that is the place our AEA's could really help out a lot.

Anonymous said...

Paper work feeds the budget to retain staff and programs. Iowa core is being done with Standards and Benchmarks and should not be a seperate book for administrators to have to find time (JUne) to write and edit. The AEA can do a large part of the work but again paper work to feed a budget and retain staff. This money could be going to the schools where it is needed and school personel who work for it and use it to teach the students!!!! Good question for a future blog. Do we need the AEA and what would happen if we did not have them and could use the money for the district? I do not have a problem with the concept of Iowa Core or 21st Century Skills but the process or monies used to promote, implement, and evaluate, YES I have a problem with. Tell me it isn't so that "The Fist of Four" method is used to baseline the input of the school leadership team and community memberrs.

Kastendieck said...

Good discussion point of Iowa Core being implemented backwards, should of started with the Elementary and then worked up through the High School. I never thought of that but it makes sense. Why does it make sense. Elementary teachers teach all subjects and could integrate the implementation of Iowa Core and 21st Century Skills in it's entirety. Scope and Sequence is already in place and being can indicate gaps across the curriculum. This is very similar to the 'Character Counts' guidance program that started in the elementary and then progressed up through the highschool. Skills learned in the elementary where built on as the student progressed in age. I believe 21st century skills could do that also. Now my question is when the elementary is implementing the program will the AEA be ready for that level with a lot more expertise then what they have come up with so far. Or...will the school district let the HS and MS guide the Elementary in the path that has been taken by the school district.

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