Category Archives: Common Core State Standards

HAIS Schools of the Future: IAAK presentations

The Fourth Annual Schools of the Future Conference marks an exciting venture in which the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and the Hawaii Community Foundation will partner with the Hawaii State Department of Education and Hawaii Society for Technology in Education to offer a not-to-be-missed two-day conference, convening October 23-24, 2012 at the Hawaii Convention Center. This is by far, one of our favorite events of the year! Join us for our Like-Minded session on October 23rd, an informative Q&A lunchtime session around Promethean ActivClassrooms and for our featured presentations:

The ActivClassroom: Effective Teaching with Technology for College and Career Readiness
Presenters: Cheryl Estabillo and Candice Frontiera, It’s All About Kids (Oct 23rd, 1:30-3:00 pm)

Learn to leverage the use of the Promethean ActivClassroom to foster communication, collaboration, inquiry and student centered learning in your classroom. Teachers will learn various strategies to plan interactive lessons and implement authentic assessments that meet the new levels of rigor required with Common Core Standards.

Developing 21st Century Skills in Students and Teachers
Presenter: Karen Talbert, (Oct 23rd, 3:30-5:00 pm)

Whether you’re a novice or a tech expert, learn how easy it is to integrate 21st century skill building into your teaching. EasyTech helps students (and teachers!) efficiently learn technology skills, digital literacy, and higher-order thinking as they study and learn in a manner which is exciting, engaging, and cross curricular. Make sure your students and teachers have the tech and 21st century skills they need to prepare them for the coming adoption of the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Assessments.

The Role of Interactive Technologies in Teaching and Learning
Presenter: Mr. Ginno Kelly, Promethean (Oct 23rd, 10:30-12:00 pm)

As interactive technologies become more ubiquitous in classrooms across the US, the need for the successful integration of these tools is imperative. The words “interactive” and “engaging” have become buzzwords that are sometimes hard to understand. In this session, using examples from the classroom, we will explore what to look for when you hear “interactive” and “engaging” within the context of interactive technologies.

Marzano Research Laboratory’s Enhancing the Art and Science of Teaching with Technology
Presenter: Sonny Magaña, M.Ed (Oct 24th, 10:30-12:00 pm)
The Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL) has benefitted educators and leaders across the country by developing practical research-based strategies on how to improve teaching and learning. In this session, Marzano Research Associate Sonny Magaña will discuss new research-based professional development offerings for education systems to effectively wield technologies to measurably improve pedagogy, academic achievement and student engagement. Dr. Marzano’s Enhancing the Art and Science of Teaching with Technology professional development services for teachers and administrators is designed to help school systems harness the potential of their existing technologies to transform their instructional and evaluation models and better prepare their students for the rigors of 21st Century work and life.

Early bird registration is now available.


Common Core State Standards Summer Institutes for Oahu and East Hawaii

Title: Common Core State Standards Summer Institute Oahu and East Hawaii

The training sessions are designed to help teachers successfully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Sessions will include research papers and readings related to building deeper understanding of the CCSS, deconstruction of the CCSS, lesson planning and lesson revisions tied to the CCSS.

The training sessions will focus on: Goal 1: Assure all students graduate college-and-career-ready through effective use of standards-based education. In addition, the training sessions will link to the following Literacy for Learning principles: Guiding Principle #1: Assessment of and for learning drives instruction, Guiding Principle #2: Evidence-based instructional strategies, and Guiding Principle #4: Instructional Leadership and Professional Learning.

Oahu: July 9-13, 2012
East Hawaii: July 16-20, 2012

8:00-3:00 pm

Oahu: Japanese Cultural Center (July 9, 11-13) and Ala Moana Hotel (July 10)
East Hawaii: Imiloa Astrology Center

Facilitators: The Common Core Institute; Mr. Kevin Baird and senior faculty team

Registration: Pre-registration deadline: Friday May 18, 2012 (registration fees to be sponsored for eligible school teams).
For registration details, email or call (808) 237-5567.

Common Core “Shifts”

EngageNY, a collaborative platform for educators, has created excellent resources that succinctly describe the “shifts” required with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.  These shifts will be very familiar to those who have attended one of our Common Core trainings or who are in the process of becoming Black Belts, facilitated by Kevin Baird of the Common Core Institute.  These resources should be required reading for all educators tasked with implementing the Common Core.  I’ve summarized the shifts here:

Shifts in ELA

  1. balance of informational and literary texts
  2. emphasis on literacy across domains, with students learning from the text rather than referring to it
  3. scaffolding to support a staircase of text complexity
  4. commitment to text-based answers, students’ discussions stay connected to text, pulling evidence from the text
  5. writing to inform and persuade based on evidence
  6. focus on academic vocabulary in grade level complex texts

Shifts in Mathematics

  1. narrow the scope but deepen the understanding
  2. spiral learning so that “each standard is not a new event, but an extension of previous learning”
  3. fluency of math facts
  4. focus on building deep understanding so that students transfer concepts to new situations
  5. application of math in real-world contexts
  6. balance between practicing and understanding, creating a dual intensity in the math classroom

Becoming a Black Belt on the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core Institute’s Black Belt Certification Hawaii cohort has kicked off to an exciting and productive start!  The learning process has begun for principals, curriculum coordinators, and teachers from a handful of charter schools who will apply the new knowledge, skills, and tools to support this major change initiative in their schools.   Kevin Baird, Chairman of the Common Core Institute, is facilitating the blended learning course.  For more information about this unique model of professional development, read my earlier blog post

Through the course of two days, full of lecture, discussion, application activities, and reflection, these are my big take-aways:

  • The implementation of Common Core State Standards is a significant change initiative.  As such, leaders need to use an organizational change approach to ensure success.  Key to this approach is addressing:  1) belief and emotion, 2) priorities, 3) scaffolds to make change simple and manageable.  Leaders need to address the emotional element of change before tackling the operational element of change.  For some people, the level of change will be greater. 
  • The vision of Common Core State Standards is college and career readiness
  • Begin by focusing on the College and Career Readiness anchor standards and the mathematical practice standards.  These practices pertain to shifts in instruction.  Think of these practices as opening the door for teachers to be creative in unit and lesson planning.  Start by encouraging teachers to:  1) increase the level of rigor through complex texts (higher lexile levels), non-fiction, and text-dependent questioning, 2) engage students in the practice of using evidence to persuade, and 3) integrate multi-modal, diverse sources of information (video, audio, simulations, etc.). 
  • Supporting teachers in this change initiative is essential to success.  The support will need to be in the form of training (don’t assume teachers have the skills), tools (simple resources and scaffolds), and time (time to understand and digest the standards, time to develop new lessons, time to talk and collaborate with peers – within and across grade levels).  The “reality” hit when we were challenged to adapt an existing lesson to address the gap between a HCPS III benchmark and the Common Core Standard and integrate the “big concepts” like text complexity, non-fiction, etc.   For many in the room, it was hard… but fun.  Experiencing this process will help the Black Belts effectively support their teachers/peers at their schools. 
  • It is not possible to teach a standard.  Rather, you teach the skills embedded within the standard.  We deconstructed a standard, following the process of identifying the learning targets and corresponding skills (knowledge, reasoning, performance, product), and matching to assessment methods. 

It was evident when we did our summary/wrap up that we all had learned a lot!  And, the process is just beginning!   Stay tuned for more reflections on our Black Belt certification journey.  I’ll leave you with a statement Kevin repeated throughout our training – “Get rid of perfect.”   It’s such a powerful and empowering statement, freeing people to try, learn, and grow.


Hawaii Charter Schools & IAAK Team Members Lead the Way as the First Participants in the Common Core Black Belt Institute

We’re very excited to share that charter schools and IAAK specialists will be participating in Hawaii’s first Common Core Institute’s Black Belt Certification Institute.  Building on best practices for sustainable change and capacity building, the Black Belt Certification Institute is designed to develop leader educators to become resident experts on the Common Core State Standards and the National Pathway for Common Core Implementation.  The goal of the Institute is to empower schools and districts to provide ongoing, sustainable training and support throughout their school system for implementation of the Common Core Standards independently, without support from outside consultants. 

The Institute is facilitated by experts from the Common Core Institute and the Center for College and Career Readiness and connects our local cohort with principals, curriculum coordinators, and teachers across the country, generating rich dialogue around the Common Core State Standards and best practices for implementation.

The Institute consists of face-to-face sessions (a minimum of six hours each), monthly webinars with follow-up independent guided lessons, regular conference calls with national leaders, including experts working with the assessment consortia and the CCSSO (authors of the Common Core State Standards), and access to print and online resources to share with colleagues.  The estimated total time commitment should not exceed two hours per week.  The model of the Institute is manageable for busy educators and effective in building knowledge for change.  The Oahu cohort will kick off on December 12th and December 13th with a face-to-face session on each day from 8 am to 2 pm.

The Institute includes…

  • Session I:  Beginning Common Core Implementation
  • Session II:  Deconstructing and Understanding the Common Core
  • Session III:  Applying the College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards
  • Session IV:  Applying Math Practice Standards
  • Session V:  Aligning Classroom Assessments to the Common Core

It’s not too late to join!  If you’re ready to become a Black Belt, call us at 487-5437 to join the community.  It promises to be an enriching learning experience for all of us. 

Public perception of the Common Core

Achieve conducted a national survey in August, polling the public’s general awareness and perceptions of the Common Core State Standards.  The findings are not terribly surprising but worth noting as we, as educators, continue to embrace and execute this potentially transformative initiative.  Here are a few of the key findings:

  • We all agree our current education system is not working well.  Only one in 10 voters believe public education is working pretty well right now.
  • Awareness of the common standards is low among the general public. 
  • Among voters who are aware of the CCSS, there is a mixed impression, with the same percentage having a favorable and unfavorable view.
  • Among teachers who are aware of the CCSS, there is generally a more favorable view.
  • There is strong support for common assessments among states, but also disagreement as to how the results of the assessments should be used. The general public strongly supports using the results for a full range of accountability purposes, while teachers are more skeptical of using test results for such purposes.

To see a PowerPoint presentation or read the full report, click here.

Ed Tech Conference Reflections

The Principal & Education Technology Conference on Wednesday proved to be an inspiring day filled with thought-provoking presentations and dialogue.  Here are some of my highlights:

  • Channel 1 News Interactive offers an exciting (not to mention easy) way to integrate daily fresh content into the classroom to spark discussion and debate.  I think teachers, particularly elementary teachers, often struggle with bringing current events into the classroom in an age-appropriate way.  Channel 1 News Interactive offers an alternative way to share and discuss current events through multi-media (video, animations, images, etc.) resources.  The fact that the new stories are reported by young people and feature the perspectives of young people makes them even more relevant and meaningful.  And, Channel 1 News Interactive even creates follow up news stories based on students’ responses.  Very cool.
  • Kevin Baird’s keynote reminded us that teaching today should focus on thinking rather than knowing.  It resonates with a key question that I use to gauge the quality of a learning experience – “are you asking a student to think or to remember?”  He tied this to the Common Core State Standards movement, highlighting that the initiative is really about changing our instruction or practices in the classroom – less about changing content.
  •  I thoroughly enjoyed Sara DeWitt’s presentation sharing some of PBS’ interactive learning projects.  First, I appreciated their approach.  The product development process she described was very exploratory and user-centered.  For instance, she highlighted that they are interested in understanding if motion and movement help to further or deepen the learning for young children.  The games she shared (some online, some apps) were great examples of leveraging the affordances of the technology to enrich the user’s experience.  For instance, using the computer’s webcam to capture the user’s movement which triggers action in the game or using the computer’s microphone to capture audio (a clap) to pop and count bubbles on the screen.  And, of course, their commitment to research and evaluation is wonderful.  SRI International studied the impact PBS KIDS Raising Readers media-rich curriculum had on preschoolers and the results are impressive.  Check out some of the new experiments at PBS Kids Lab here.

Thank you to all who attended the conference!

A little policy talk

Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog shared details on a bill to reauthorize the NCLB Act.  The draft legislative language will not be released until next week so many of the details are not firm but here are the general ideas:

  • More flexibility with regards to accountability – no set achievement targets (i.e. all proficient by 20XX).  Schools just need to show “continuous improvement”.
  • Intervention options for the lowest-performing schools would look similar to SIG models.
  • A new category of schools for interventions – those with the largest achievement gaps
  • States would have to adopt college and career ready standards
  • States would have to set English-Language proficiency standards

Excitement builds for the Oct 19th Ed Tech Conference

In just under a month the IAAK Principals & Educational Technology Conference will take place at the Hawaii Convention Center from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.  I’ve highlighted some of the sessions here… for more information on the conference, click here.

Resources for the Classroom:

  • You don’t want to miss learning about a new resource to be used on the IWB – Channel One News InterActiv, created in partnership with Channel One and CBS News, offers students in grades 3-12 daily high-quality broadcasts featuring current, real-world content.  The program offers teachers a simple and engaging way to integrate authentic experiences while modeling the effective use of IWBs.
  • As the Common Core State Standards continue to shape teaching and learning in the classroom, teachers will need to increase the complexity of text and integrate more non-fiction text.  MyOn Reader is a great web-based resource which not only provides access to thousands of eBooks but also includes embedded assessments to measure and track students’ Lexile levels.  This session will focus on how several Hawaii schools are using the resource to promote reading.
  • It seems the buzz these days is all about “learning across platforms”.  If this concept is buzzing in your brain, you probably want to attend the session focusing on how PBS Kids is engaging students across platforms through its characters and content.

Common Core State Standards:

We’ve spent a good part of the school year working with Kevin Baird of the Common Core Institute and several Honolulu schools, focusing on unraveling the Common Core Standards.  In this keynote session, Kevin will discuss the ways educational technology tools and resources can and should be used to support the implementation of the Common Core.  Drawing from his diverse experiences in education, Kevin does an excellent job highlighting priorities and sharing practical strategies with high impact.


There’s always exciting news and practices to share with regards to Promethean.

  • Ensuring 100% response rate in the classroom just got easier!  Hear about Promethean’s latest development – BYOD (bring your own device) for collecting responses.
  • There is so much to learn from our friends at Variety School.  Hear and see how teachers and students at the school are leveraging the capabilities of the ActivBoard to enhance teaching and learning for students with special needs.  You will be impressed!

Join on October 19th – we’d love to see you there.

Ed tech to support the implementation of Common Core

IAAK has formed a partnership with the Common Core Institute, collaboratively offering professional development to teachers and administrators on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.  Kevin Baird, Chairman of the Common Core Institute, has been facilitating these sessions, providing participants with background on the Common Core, highlighting the “big idea” behind the new standards, and helping teachers unravel how to take their existing curricula and practices and refine to effectively address the Common Core.  After the trainings, teachers reported feeling less anxiety about the CCSS, more aware of the levels of cognitive demand, and more confident in their ability to develop unit plans that align to the CCSS.

We are pleased to announce that Kevin Baird will be presenting the keynote at the Principals & Educational Technology Conference on October 19 at the Hawaii Convention Center.  Mr. Baird will be focusing on how teachers and administrators can leverage existing technology solutions to support the implementation of the Common Core.  Mr. Baird is extensively involved in the Common Core initiative, serving as the Chairman of the Common Core Institute and Chairman of the National Partnership for School Leadership Development and a committee member on the State Collaborative for Assessments and Student Standards with the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Mr. Baird began his career as a technology teacher and has since been involved in education policy, worked in educational publishing, and now works with schools to support reading improvement, school organization change, and the effective use of technology.  Mr. Baird holds a MBA in International Management and a BA in Sociology & Anthropology from Carleton College.  Mr. Baird is a Wingspread and Beinecke Scholar, and is a member of the Secretary’s Circle of Phi Beta Kappa.

Join us on October 19th at the conference… for more information click here.