Clueless? I Hope Not…

Once an Understanding by Design Disciple, always a UbD disciple, and I’ve been thinking a great deal about Common Core Standards.  In general, I’m quite impressed with the depth of learning they promote, however, I often believe questions can be more productive than the actual answers.  Further, as an ex-UbD trainer, I am forever doomed to generate esential questions.  So, this week, I’ve been thinking about my district as we move ahead with Common Core.  I have a feeling some of these questions are being asked around the country.  Are they being asked in your district?

  • How do we know we are ready to begin?
  • Do we fully understand their purpose and their relationship to current standards?
  • How do we prepare for Common Core, while making sure to integrate the Critical Skills and the competencies of a 21st Century learner?
  • How do we equip teachers to design aligned formative and summative assessments?
  • What is the role of instructional materials at each level?
  • Are there additional pathways that should be made available to students?
  • What modifications should be made to material adoption rubrics to ensure powerful alignment?
  • How do we ensure fidelity of implementation which maintains the sequenced narrative design of the math standards?
  • What is the most effective and efficient way for each department to support site needs?
  • How do we ensure fidelity of implementation that maintains appropriate ratios of reading and writing types, with particular focus on expository and informational communication?
  • What essential and common vocabulary is needed for leaders and teachers?
  • Does the level of content knowledge for teachers need to increase?
  •  How do we change standards without compromising our standards?

I will concede these are not true essential questions; there are even deeper discussions to be had, however these questions are critical.  What did I leave off the list?  Where is your district with Common Core?  Do you feel ready?  Are your teachers on a path for full-implementation?

Because ready or not, here they come.


Mike Lee

Mike Lee

Phoenix, Arizona

I am the Director of Outreach and Engagement for The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and certified as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004. In 2012, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, I began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. My passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. I consider myself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner, who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.

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