Today's blog is a follow-up to an earlier post where Paula Merchant described her experiences participating in the Common Core and More Institute. Today Paula shares some of the lessons that she and her team have learned one year later.
Right now we are approaching the end of our yearlong pilot of curriculum development and standards integration in Brockton, with many lessons learned, many draft model units developed, and some useful ways to share our experience with other educators in Massachusetts. This pilot has evolved over the course of the year in Brockton into a comprehensive and sustained professional development and curriculum development initiative with new teams of teachers participating a few times a year, upon their full introduction to the WIDA standards. This pilot has provided us some useful implementation lessons and experience needed to begin sharing with other districts. The biggest cautionary lesson we share with others interested in building on this work in other districts, is that this process is not about filling in and following a template, but about collaborative discussion and analysis teachers must do in planning for educating English language learners. We also learned that standards integration requires a sustained professional development infrastructure and strong leadership supporting integration across all content areas and classrooms as well as the creation of school structures that support common planning, shared assessment and collaborative planning.
Sharing in the Field
The Brockton coaches and I have shared the process with our MATSOL ELL Directors group (MELLC) at a curriculum-sharing day. Several have begun to look at this model and how it might merge with their local district curriculum processes context and efforts. We were recently invited to share this work with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We are hoping that with many changes happening right now in Massachusetts, new model units will be developed showing teachers curricular considerations for ELLs. In addition, we plan to convene working groups in MATSOL this summer (2013) focused on curriculum to include educators who developed Newcomer Curriculum Maps last summer to expand into creating ELD and integrated content units for newcomers, as well as groups focused on ELD model units.
As our newly adopted WIDA ELD standards are used, and districts begin implementation efforts beyond the recommended full 2-day WIDA introduction, Kellie and I both hope that some of this sharing and thinking will result in new action plans, new collaborations in schools, new leadership considerations among principals and program staff, and learning from each other within our MATSOL community over time! We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have participated in CoCoMo and to have been given so many resources to support our ongoing work in Massachusetts around English learner achievement. Thanks WIDA and IRC for your leadership and continued support on this!
If you have attended CoCoMo, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Written by: Tammy King
Images: WIDA Consortium