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Follow-Up: With Common Core, Finding Hope in Working Together


Jessica Keigan
In my last post, I discussed my need to clean up my instructional storehouses to make way for the implementation of Common Core. I look forward to starting fresh and with a new lens by which to judge my practice. However, to truly be successful with this, I recognize the need to work with my peers in the process.

The common standards push our students to think more collaboratively, and we have a unique opportunity to model this as we work to solve problems of implementation.

As many commenters have pointed out, plenty of corporations and publishers will try to jump on the Common Core bandwagon. What better way to address this than for teachers to highlight our qualifications as educators to determine which resources are truly aligned with this new way of teaching and learning?

Thankfully, there are ample opportunities for educators to be heard.

For example, I have the honor of working with the Colorado Content Collaborative, which brings together teachers from various content areas to review and "bank" assessments for our teacher-evaluation system. In our monthly meetings, my reading, writing and communication team uses classroom expertise to guide the process of choosing tools for implementing and assessing the standards.

Collaboration is not limited to the local level. The common standards allow us to work with peers on a national scale. Through collaborative tools such as the Literacy and Mathematics Design Collaborative or in teacher advocacy groups such as the New Millennium Initiative, educators have the opportunity to ensure that their voice and expertise are a part of the conversation.

We are in a time of great systemic change and it is completely valid to have concerns. However, if we persist on marinating in negative thoughts we will continue to be stuck in a system that is very clearly not meeting the needs of all students as well as it could be. Let's accept this challenge and see what great things can come from sharing our classroom expertise and practices to help each of us find success.

A Colorado native who has taught for nine years. Jessica divides her time evenly between teaching English at Horizon High School in Denver and supporting results-oriented efforts to improve Colorado's schools. She is a member of the Denver New Millennium Initiative team.

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