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Follow-Up: Tackling the Common Core Together

Sarah Henchey

We are all stakeholders in education. When big changes are discussed, we must set a number of places at the table—for teachers, policy makers, researchers, state and local leaders, and members of the community.

In my first post, I described conversations I've engaged in with colleagues.

These teacher-to-teacher conversations are valuable, but they're not enough. All stakeholders must communicate with each other if we hope to successfully transform our schools into the system our students need.

Here are a few conversations I'd like to see and take part in:

  • Teachers working with administrators to enhance collaboration within their buildings.

  • Curriculum specialists and teachers discussing how to create tools without mandating scripts. (One interesting resource that's being used by the Implementing Common Core Standards team is MyGroupGenius. Here teachers can upload lessons, post tips, and discuss the Common Core math and literacy standards.)

  • Researchers and teachers working together to create Common Core assessments, drawing upon qualitative and quantitative data on effective measures of student learning.

  • Policy makers joining local leaders in touring classrooms, observing instruction, and learning from students.

  • Entire communities discussing how we can support college and career readiness among our children.

As I look forward to the implementation, I'm hopeful. I see this as an opportunity for unprecedented collaboration—and for reform, transformation, and growth.

But we must talk to each other. We must notice who's not at the table and figure out how to make a place for them. We must work to gain each other's trust so that we may speak openly. We must focus on solutions and draw on all the expertise and resources we each have to offer.

What other ideas do you have about potential collaboration? How can you reach beyond your local sphere?

Sarah Henchey, a 6th grade language arts teacher in Orange County, N.C., serves as a virtual community organizer for the Center for Teaching Quality's Implementing Common Core Standards project team.

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