Every year the California Continuation Education Association Conference is always tons of fun, enlightening, and validating. This year's conference was focused on the Common Core. In this time of transition, state-wide collaboration is such a jem. The conference is a time that all of us alternative education staff can get together and share best practices, share struggles and get great ideas for the next school year especially with the transition to the Common Core.
This years conference had many take-aways, but a few really stuck with me. Some were directly from presentations, some from conversations, and all were reinforced throughout my time at the conference:
2. Be mindful
2. The Common Core is a chance for opportunity.
I am absolutely biased, but I believe that Continuation School Teachers are the most creative breed of teacher. Seeing and hearing the phenomenal lessons that were given to students, the higher level of thinking and learning that would be needed to achieve this high standards, and all the while scaffolding the assignments gave to ensure students of every level are able to succeed was simply amazing. This is an art, and my colleagues that presented had some of the most innovating lessons, programs, and tools that demonstrated this artistry.
Other Common Core take-aways are that the standards and the Smarter Balance assessments are not married. Most will agree that the standards are great; they allow for teachers to be creative, teach in-depth concepts and 21st Century Skills which are often difficult to assess, but this is new and creating assessments is an evolution...they get better through reflection which takes time. So separating those two concepts is essential.
3. Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate!
This is so key, we are creating great work out there, but often in our unique settings there is little collaboration available. This is often due to single person departments, or teachers don't have a common class that they teach. It is my hopes, and really why I started this blog, to mend some of the distance and use technology to our advantage. We need to harvest material and make it our own. It is key to hear the outcomes that other teachers had, and what worked and what didn't work. It is never the same for anybody, or every class; but evolution and constantly making lessons better is key.
Again, the CCEA conference is my most anticipated event of the year because I get to be around new friends that know my students, understand my struggles, and are passionate about students and helping them overcome adversity.
This year's ASCD conference was like something I have never been to before! I got so many great ideas and things to bring back to my school site! I thought I would share a few of those things that any teacher could take away. I love Daniel Pinks books and was so happy to hear him speak in person. Russel Quaglia. was great, and I can't tell my site enough that we need the My Voice survey. I love data, and this really brings everything into fruition. It is so vital to always test the waters of a Alternative Education campus to make sure all learners feel safe and that they are in an atmosphere they can learn in. For more info. on the My Voice survey click here.