Monday, March 9, 2015

Common Core Aligned Classrooms

Taken from ASCD Educore

What does a classroom look like when it's aligned with the instructional intent of the Common Core State Standards? If this question is on your mind, the Green Flags/Red Flags documents can be used to help understand what implementing the CCSS with fidelity entails. Equally as important, these documents help you understand what a CCSS-aligned classroom would not look like. Meant to act as a guide and a blueprint for what should be included and what should be discontinued in the classroom, these documents can be used to determine patterns of implementation, provide evidence for conversations around professional growth, and for self-reflection. They are not intended for teacher evaluation.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Data on Student Proficiency Rates and Growth

New Data on Student Proficiency Rates and Growth

The Iowa Department of Education has been working to fulfill a legislative requirement to develop a system for evaluating and ranking all public schools based on their performance on nine specific measures. This requirement, known as the Attendance Center Rankings, also requires the Department to post this information on its website. The first phase of this system consists of data on two of the nine required measures: student proficiency rates and growth toward college and career readiness. The Department has released a web application that allows users to look up for any school or district:
  1. The percentage of students proficient in math and reading in grades 3 through 8 and 11.
  2. The percentage of students who have achieved growth toward college and career readiness by the end of high school.  
More information about these definitions can be found on the site. A Frequently Asked Questions document also is available online.
The Attendance Center Rankings system is required as part of House File 215, which was adopted by lawmakers in the 2013 legislative session. The Department is releasing this first phase to demonstrate to the Legislature progress in meeting the requirement. No school rankings are part of this initial release of information.
A more complete Attendance Center Rankings system is expected this fall.

Date: Friday, January 30, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Recertifying Iowa Core Implementation Plans

Recertifying Iowa Core Implementation Plans

1.  In the event of your plans were uncertified, there was an email that directly came to your district from the Iowa Department of Education that outlines your next steps and how to revise your plans and recertify.
2.  As you work through your revisions, you will be able to click on the iLogs icon to get additional assistance, but ultimately, the DE will be looking for all answers to reflect components of the Self Study Review @
3.  We would recommend that these revisions be done by March 31, 2015.  Having said that, if your district is up for a DE Site visit, all plans housed on the C-Plan portal need to be properly certified in order to be compliant for the site visit.    
4. As always, we're here to help.  Please don't hesitate to give your AEA Iowa Core Lead a call to assist.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Public Input Sought on Science Standards

Public input sought on science standards
February public forums scheduled; survey opened this week
DES MOINES – Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck today announced this week that he’s seeking input from Iowans on a preliminary proposal to update Iowa’s science standards.
Buck announced a series of February public forums and an online survey following a state panel’s recommendation to get public feedback on the Next Generation Science Standards. This is the name of science standards developed by 26 states, including Iowa, that all states can consider adopting and adapting to meet their needs. 
Academic standards represent expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through high school. Iowa’s academic standards are being reviewed, starting with science, as part of Executive Order 83.
“We want to improve our state standards, and we also want to make sure they are the right fit for Iowa,” Buck said. “That’s why public input is such a critical part of this review process.”
The process began last fall, when Buck convened a team of education and business leaders to review Iowa’s science standards, as well as rigorous science standards from other states, and to make a preliminary recommendation for improvement to take to the public for feedback.
The science standards review team’s preliminary recommendation came in December, following three public meetings.
Feedback from the February public forums and survey will be used to provide guidance to the science standards review team, which is expected to submit a final recommendation regarding science standards to the State Board of Education later this year.
Buck said fine-tuning Iowa’s science standards is especially critical as the state works to bolster its commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education so that students can compete for a growing number of STEM-related jobs.
“Standards are about setting consistent, rigorous learning goals statewide and leaving decisions about curriculum and teaching to local school administrators and teachers,” Buck said. “If our goal is to make sure Iowa students are ready for college and career training after high school, we must have clear, consistent statewide standards.”
The survey will be open through Friday, Feb. 27. To take the survey go to:
Iowans also can provide feedback in person at any of the four public forums in February:
Wednesday, Feb. 11: Waukee
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Waukee Community Schools District Office – Board Room
560 Southeast University Ave.
Waukee, IA
Tuesday, Feb. 24, Ottumwa
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.        
Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Ottumwa Office – Auditorium
            2814 North Court Street
Ottumwa, IA
Wednesday, Feb. 25, Dubuque
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.        
Keystone Area Education Agency, Dubuque Office – Room 1 ABC
            2310 Chaney Road
Dubuque, IA
Thursday, Feb. 26, Sioux City
4:30 to 6:30 p.m.        
Northwest Area Education Agency, Administrative Office – Room A/Auditorium
1520 Morningside Ave.
Sioux City, IA
To read the Next Generation Science Standards, visit
To read Iowa’s academic standards, visit
About the science standards review team: The team is made up of education and business leaders with expertise in physical science, life science, earth and space science, and engineering, technology and application. A list of members is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Navigating the New Iowa Core Website Video

Here is a GREAT video demonstrating the new Iowa Core website This navigates through the tabs of Iowa Core Standards, Educator Resources and Parents & Community.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Using the EQuiP Rubric for Aligning Classroom Lessons & Units to the Common Core

 In May, I blogged about using the EQuiP rubric (see below).  The EQuiP rubric is a great tool to:
  • Guide the development of lessons and units
  • Evaluate existing lessons and units to identify improvements needed to align with the CCSS
  • Build understand­ing of the instructional demands of the CCSS

At Keystone AEA, we recently surveyed our schools to determine their level of readiness and understanding of this tool.  In efforts of better understanding the EQuiP rubric and its importance, please check out these great resources:

Intro to the EQuiP Rubric video and powerpoint

Iowa Core Blog from 5/22/14
I love the opportunity when I get to spend some time with my colleagues from across the state.  Today I discovered a great rubric for aligning classroom lessons and units to the Common Core. "The EQuIP rubrics should be used for: guiding the development of lessons and units, evaluating existing lessons and units to identify improvements needed to align with the CCSS, building the capacity of teachers to gain a deeper understanding of the instructional demands of the CCSS, and informing publishers of the criteria that will be applied in the evaluation of proposals and final products."  To access these great resources, go to and search for EQuIP rubrics.