Klea Scharberg

Opportunity to Learn, Teach, and Lead

What does it mean to be a teacher, a learner, and a leader in today's schools and classrooms? What do we need to be effective? How will the current standards movement affect us, as professionals, and our students? How do we find out the answers to these questions?

The Common Core State Standards lead us to focus on the ways students make transitions between grade levels. They provide a new definition of what it means for students to be knowledgeable and achieve mastery in English language arts and mathematics. But these standards are not the whole answer; they do not address all the facets of learning under a whole child approach to education. We can use the Common Core State Standards as a beginning—a starting point in transforming our teaching practices; learning new ways to collaborate and connect professionally; and taking leadership roles in seeking out professional development, finding resources to build new curricula, and making ourselves heard for what we and our kids need.

Let's get started. Let's take the next step. Achieve, an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C., in partnership with College Summit and whole child partners National Association of Secondary School Principals and National Association of Elementary School Principals, has released new guides to help elementary school leaders, secondary school leaders, and school counselors support Common Core State Standards implementation. The guides provide explanations, talking points, and action steps that school leaders and counselors can begin to put into practice in their schools today in the following areas:

  • Culture
  • Literacy instruction
  • Text complexity and informational text
  • Close reading and text-based response
  • Writing across content areas
  • Mathematics instruction
  • Student engagement and collaboration
  • Instructional time
  • Create-and-learn versus sit-and-get
  • Professional learning
  • Assessment
  • Technology integration

In December and January, we looked at what we can do to implement the Common Core standards within a whole child approach. Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids; Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.; and David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD, who leads the development and implementation of ASCD's legislative agenda (PDF) as well as ASCD's efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels. Read this blog to hear from guest bloggers and experts on how schools are working to better and more comprehensively support student learning so that they meet these enhanced expectations.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month's newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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