When I was a teacher, July was an interesting month. I tended to travel, read and be somewhat decadent. I had done some reflection on what kinds of things worked well in the prior year and made note of that, but had not yet gone so far as to plan for the next year. As a district technology coordinator, my July was a little different in that I had started to pull together what kinds of professional development I was going to provide in August and the plan for the overall year. I also had to check on purchase orders and start to install computers and other systems I had ordered in the spring. I still had time for some decadence.
I imagine there are technology coordinators, assessment staff and curriculum coordinators across the country engaged in similar activities this July, especially thinking about professional development. This is a perfect time for them to be thinking about and planning that professional development, but this year doing it together. While the reasons seem obvious, here are just a few:
- There is more and more digital content available for the classroom every year, but how much is tied to the CCSS and how many teachers have specific activities and lesson plans that incorporate that digital content? It is a great place for curriculum and technology folks to work together.
- The CCSS are a hot topic for professional development, but how many folks are thinking about how to assess some of the areas that don’t lend themselves to easy assessments, such as compex problem solving? Teachers need quizzes, rubrics, exercises and ideas on how to do that thoroughly and fairly for kids. It is a great place for curriculum and assessment people to work together, show the staff that they are working together, and to do a check that everyone is using the same language in talking about these things.
- And speaking of assessment, the RTTA coming online in the 2014-15 school year provide an opportunity for teachers to learn a little bit about what what they are and what they may look like. It would be good to discuss how comfortable they are with using technology with instruction, what technologies they feel may be helpful for them as they teach to the CCSS, and to make a connection between some of the everyday assessments they use in the classroom with the future RTTA.
In your districts or states, have staff from the three departments ever worked together? If so, let us hear about your efforts. If not, there is no time like the present – after a little decadence.