Thursday, August 2, 2012

Collaborate Chicago!

Yesterday I attended a PD called Collaborate Chicago! A Conference about Common Core. Collaborate Chicago was co-sponsored by Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center. There were over 1,000 teachers there all excited to learn about the Common Core State Standards. For me the highlight of the day came during the welcome. CPS CEO Brizard walked about to a polite (and short) round of applause. CTU President Lewis was met with a lengthy standing ovation. Brizard standing and watching the standing ovation only made it that much better! For me personally that was the peak of the day, and everything else did not meet my expectations. I attended 4 different sessions hoping to get great new practical ideas for CCSS implementation, but that wasn’t the case. The presenters would start by briefly talking about CCSS, and then continue on to “best practices.” I signed up for the two special education sessions in hopes of help writing IEPs aligned to CCSS and ideas for supporting students with special needs in CCSS rigorous activities and texts. Unfortunately I didn’t get any new ideas or guidance in how to proceed with CCSS. The best presentation I went to was on the modified Danielson Framework and was co-presented by CTU and CPS. But even then I really wasn’t able to see the connection to CCSS.

I am frustrated because CCSS does not have to be fully implemented for a couple years, but we are being pushed to jump in quickly and become experts, when there really aren’t that many experts yet. (Well maybe there are CCSS experts, but I have yet to attend a presentation by someone I would consider a CCSS expert!)

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