Friday, March 11, 2011

Events Associated with the New Frameworks

Last Monday, the Southeast Regional Readiness Center located at Bridgewater State University held the first in a series of sessions to assist with the introduction and implementation of the new Curriculum Frameworks in Math and Literacy. Each of six regions in the state will be hosting a similar opportunity.

Attendees represented Early Education and Care, Pre-K through 12 schools and districts, and Institutions of Higher Learning. The goal of the Readiness Centers is to bring members of these groups together on a regular basis to collaborate on the preparation of all of our young learners for effective participation in career and society. The first session presented an overview of the development and adoption of the Common Core State Standards and breakout sessions that presented the organization and content of the Literacy and Math Frameworks. In addition, participants learned what Massachusetts added to enhance the core standards in order to develop the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in Math and Literacy.

One very interesting addition to the introduction section of the Literacy Framework is the set of Guiding Principles. They provide ten statements that describe the characteristics of "an effective English language arts curriculum". The Guiding Principles are an excellent place to begin work on the understanding and implementation of the new standards.

The document itself is informational text and is available in its pre-publication form (It is currently with the copy editors.) at http://www.doe.mass.edu/candi/commoncore/. It contains many charts and sidebars with lots of important and useful information. Also available at the website are the presentations made at the Readiness Center, including some activities that may help schools and districts introduce the documents to all staff and to families. The schedule of additional Readiness Center presentations are available there as well.

At the Department we continue to work on tools and mini-presentations that explain some of the newer concepts associated with the Framework. These include content literacy, text complexity, and developing a plan for district implementation. As we move into the next couple of months these tools will be introduced and disseminated throughout all regions.

Those of you who participated in the Race to the Top application and highlighted interest in curriculum work, may be part of a cohort of teachers who will be working on curriculum mapping and curriclum sample units with us this summer. Once they are developed, they will be available for all to use. It is an exciting time with many opportunities for participation in the implementation process. Keep your eye on the Curriculum and Instruction page (above) where eventually all the tools and documents will be available. When the Frameworks are published everyone will receive a copy, however, the appendices which contain lots of valuable information and tools as well, will be available at the website.

Stay tuned for information and news as it develops!