Steven Weber

Curriculum Director/Specialist

Hillsborough, NC

Interests: Curriculum Development...

  • Joined 4 Years ago
  • 3780

How Will You Prepare to Make "Shift Happen" in 2012-2013?

"Each of us is the system."

               - Michael Fullan

In 2007, Diane Ravitch wrote EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon.  The term shift was not included in the book.  During the past year, the term shift has been mentioned in professional development, on webinars, in books, and in conversations with colleagues.  The Common Core State Standards require educators to make multiple shifts that will change teaching and learning.  The ASCD webinar archive is filled with recommendations for educators who are making shifts in instruction and assessment.  EngageNY outlines instructional shifts, Common Core shifts, and shifts for students and parents.  How will you prepare to make shift happen in your school?

Some school districts have developed a three-phase approach to implementing the Common Core State Standards. The first phase was titled "Awareness."  The "Awareness" phase was followed by the 2011-2012 school year and that was known as the "Transition" phase.  In August, school districts will move into the "Implementation" phase.  As educators move into the "Implementation" phase, it is important to remember the words of Michael Fullan (1993), "Systems don't change by themselves.  Rather, the actions of individuals and small groups working on new conceptions intersect to produce breakthroughs."  Educators may be overwhelmed by the number of shifts that need to take place in 2012-2013. How can school leaders ease anxiety while planning for 'breakthroughs?'

Recommendations & Resources Which Support "Shift"

1)  Establish Short-Term Goals
See Changing the System
By Douglas Reeves 

2)  Go for a Small Win
See "A Small Win in Iowa"
By Steven Weber 

3)  Utilize the Expertise of Classroom Teachers
See Teacher Leadership and Implementing the Common Core State Standards
By Marsha Ratzel 

4)  Provide each educator with an online version of the plan/goals
It is easier to make shifts in instruction and assessment when educators can see the "Big Picture."
See The Eight-Step Process For Leading Change
By John Kotter 

5)  Provide Time for Reflection
See Progress or Procrastination
By Rick DuFour 

As we implement the Common Core State Standards, we need to reflect on shifts that we have made throughout our lives.  The change process is similar in education.  What steps did you take when you decided to lose weight?  What steps did you take as you went through graduate classes?  What shifts did you make in your schedule in order to get your children to their activities?  Shift Happens in our life and it is happening at a rapid pace.  Outlining shifts in instruction and assessment is the first step.  This should take place during the "Awareness" phase.  As districts begin implementing the Common Core State Standards, district leaders need to develop processes and short term wins. It is easier to make shifts happen when all stakeholders can see the Big Picture.  There are multiple books on change leadership which will support the changes that need to occur.  Feel free to share your thoughts below or make additional recommendations regarding "making shifts" in education.  Implementing standards is not new for educators.  If we focus on supporting the change process, it will make a smoother transition for teachers and students.  Focusing on the standards alone, disregards the "change process."

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