Building a Common Foundation

Our district has formally adopted student technology standards that are to be implemented this year. The teachers are overwhelmed, viewing this as an add-on to an already lengthy list of content area standards! How do we approach these additional standards?

Although most educators these days feel inundated with work, some seem to be able to deal with the many demands of standards-based programs better than others. Schools that successfully implement standards-based curricula have several traits in common, but first and foremost, staff members at these sites have a common understanding about what the standards mean, how they interconnect, and then map strategies for covering the required material. Effective site leaders do not assume that this common understanding already exists. They take the time to meet with staff to review all standards, discuss what they mean, and brainstorm plans to meet instructional goals. While this may seem simplistic, discussions of this type often reveal widely disparate interpretations of the standards and how they can be taught. Once teachers establish this common foundation, the work seems more manageable. In the case of technology standards, it will be worthwhile for you to meet with teachers to discuss the discrete skills being taught and to explore when and how benchmark products can be incorporated into content area requirements.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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