Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Iowa Core and Professional Development Standards

As districts continue to focus on the implementation of the Iowa Core and all of the great professional development that goes with it; remembering the Iowa Professional Development Standards is  something that all Administrative teams, District Leadership Teams, and Professional Leadership Teams should revisit and have conversations around.....Professional Development....why are we doing what we're doing and is it making a difference?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Iowa Core Standards App

As much as I've loved the Common Core Standards app from Mastery Connect, there is a free Iowa Core standards app NOW AVAILABLE!  Teachers will absolutely LOVE this.  Download it at any of the following:

~Special thanks to my awesome colleague and great friend Deb Henkes @ Keystone AEA for sharing!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Revising Iowa Core C-Plans

In the next couple of days you will most likely be hearing from the Iowa Department of Education whether your Iowa Core Implementation Plans were certified or not. There are a few things we wanted to share with you regarding this:

1.  In the event of your plans being uncertified, there will be an email that comes directly to you 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 Review Guidance (see link below). We made a similar review available in the spring.
3.  We would recommend that these revisions be done in a timely manner.  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.  Remember to check out the Iowa Core Blog for all the latest Iowa Core information @ http://iowacorenetwork.blogspot.com/


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Check out IowaLearns.org

IowaLearns.org is a digital repository of teaching and learning resources. The repository provides an environment for educators and students to search for, use and share quality educational resources.

The majority of the resources are open to everyone, some resources are licensed only for Iowa educators and students.

Educators can access licensed material by logging into IowaLearns.org using their Iowa AEA Online building Username/Password information.

Note: Educators, you will need to add a "dr" in front of your Iowa AEA Online Password.

• Iowa AEA Online Username and Password: idoe9876/iowadoe
• IowaLearns.org Username and Password: idoe9876/driowadoe

If you don't know your login information, see your building administrator or AEA media personnel.

Currently there are more than 8000 resources available to the public within IowaLearns.org.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Key Messages About the Iowa Core

About the Iowa Core
-       The Iowa Core is a set of goals -- academic standards that set high expectations and provide a clear understanding of what students should know and be able to do in math, science, English language arts and social studies. The standards include learning goals for 21st century skills in areas such as financial and technology literacy.

-       The Iowa Core sets appropriate expectations for all students -- regardless of where they live -- that reflect the real-world knowledge and skills they will need to graduate from high school prepared for college or to enter the workforce.

-       The Iowa Core emphasizes complex skills rather than basic skills. The standards promote learning based on problem-solving, creativity, and critical-thinking rather than memorization of isolated facts.

-       The standards establish what students need to learn, but not how teachers should teach. The Iowa Core is a set of expectations, not a curriculum, so decisions about how to help students reach the standards remain in the hands of local schools and teachers.

-       With students, parents and teachers all on the same page and working together toward shared goals, we can ensure that students make progress each year and graduate prepared to build a strong future for themselves and for Iowa.

-       This school year is the first in which all grades (K-12) will fully implement the Iowa Core.

Additional Information
How do the Iowa Core and the Common Core overlap?
-       Iowa lawmakers approved the Iowa Core as a state requirement in 2008. State legislators and education leaders led this shift away from locally determined standards, which had caused inconsistent expectations in schools across the state. Iowa educators identified and wrote the essential concepts and skills that make up the Iowa Core.

-       As Iowa worked to develop and implement the Iowa Core, a consortium of states came together to develop common standards for English language arts and math. This was in response to concerns across the country that many students were graduating from high school unprepared for the demands of college and careers.
-       The Common Core standards were developed by this coalition of states led by governors and state school chiefs. Forty-eight states took part, drawing on the expertise of content specialists, teachers, school administrators and parents. The process was open for public comment, and more than 10,000 comments were received.

-       The Common Core standards incorporate the best and highest of previous state standards in the U.S. and are internationally bench-marked to the top-performing nations around the world. Most states have voluntarily adopted the Common Core.
How was the Common Core adopted in Iowa?
-       Iowa, through authority vested in the State Board of Education by the Iowa Legislature, adopted the Common Core State Standards in a public process in 2010 and blended them with our state standards. This was an easy decision because:
o   The two were very comparable in English language arts and math; a study showed 97 percent alignment.
o   Consistent standards allow teachers from across the country to share information and resources and give students a more seamless educational experience from state to state.

Doesn’t the Common Core represent an overreach by the federal government?
-       No. The Common Core was developed by a coalition of states, not the federal government, and Iowa is not receiving federal money to implement the Common Core as part of the Iowa Core.
Where does it stand today?
-       Iowa Core implementation is a multi-year process led locally by schools and school districts with assistance from the Iowa Department of Education and Area Education Agencies.

-       With professional development, schools continue to address how the standards fit with academic content, teaching, and local assessments well into the 2014-15 school year.

-       The Iowa Core is not perfect. We want to continually improve the standards and look to Iowa education stakeholders to help us make the Iowa Core the right fit for Iowa.

-       Iowans will continue to have input into improving our state standards. One way is through an executive order from Gov. Branstad that requires an ongoing review process. The Iowa Department of Education is determining the process for review, which will begin this fall.
Key Features
English/Language Arts
·       Build knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational texts plus literature.
·       Reading and writing grounded in evidence from the text.
·       Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary.

English Language Arts – Reading: Literature – Grade 8
-        Craft and Structure
·       Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
·       Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
·       Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
·       Focus: 2-3 topics focused on deeply in each grade.
·       Coherence: Concepts logically connected from one grade to the next and linked to other major topics within the grade.
·       Rigor: Application of knowledge to real-world situations, and deep understanding of mathematical concepts.

Mathematics – Grade 3 – Measurement & Data
-        Solve Problems Involving Measurement and Estimation of Intervals of Time, Liquid Volumes, and Masses of Objects.
·       Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
·       Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (I).[1]  Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.[2]

[1] Excludes compound units such as cm3 and finding the geometric volume of a container.
[2] Excludes multiplicative comparison problems (problems involving notions of “times as much,” see Glossary, Table 2).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Explore the Iowa Core through New Website

The state has launched a new website, IowaCore.gov, to help teachers across the state put the standards into practice in their classrooms and to help increase public understanding of our statewide academic standards.

Please take time to explore the new website, which includes:

· The Iowa Core standards in a format that is searchable by grade level (K-12) and subject (mathematics, science, social studies, English language arts and 21st century skills, such as financial literacy).

· A collection of optional education resources that teachers may use to implement the Iowa Core. More than 8,000 resources are available at no charge in a central, searchable online location called IowaLearns.org, which is accessible through IowaCore.gov. The materials are adaptable to fit the individual needs of local classrooms.

· Parent guides to the Iowa Core that parents and other Iowans can use to understand what the Iowa Core is, what students are expected to know and how parents can help at home. The guides were developed in partnership with the National PTA and Iowa teachers.

IowaCore.gov was developed with state funding from the 2013 legislative session. The website is managed by the Iowa Department of Education, which continues to work to improve and expand the site. The “Contact Us” section of the site includes a form to contribute feedback.

The Iowa Core standards set consistent expectations for learning in schools across the state. The standards are a set of academic goals, not a curriculum, so decisions about how to help students reach the standards remain in the hands of local schools and teachers.

For more information, please visit IowaCore.gov.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Iowa Core C-Plan Assistance

As many of you look ahead to the September 15 C-Plan due date, you might be happy to know that the Iowa Core questions have revised to reflect approximately 10 questions.  To best answer these questions, click on the link below.  This document that will provide you assistance in accomplishing that.  Additional support can be found on the AEA11 Eduvision.  As always, if you need any assistance, please contact your AEA Iowa Core Lead! 

Document:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B26qlKUzLGEyM0tKSndxcG9KQXM/edit?usp=sharing

Webinars:  https://aea111.eduvision.tv/default.aspx

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Student Assessment Inventory for Schools

I'm not sure if I've ever blogged out information that I discovered on achieve.org, but this resource is too good not to pass along.  For those of you who have never been to this site, achieve.org is  "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization dedicated to working with states to raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability."

The specific resource is a Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts. This is a "tool district leaders can use to take stock of their assessments and assessment strategy, and do so from a student perspective.  The tool supports a process by which districts evaluate the assessments students are taking, determine the minimum testing necessary to serve essential diagnostic, instructional and accountability purposes, and work to ensure that every district-mandated test is of high quality, is providing the information needed for specific school and district purposes, and is supported by structures and routines so that assessment results are actually used and action steps taken that will help students."

Most importantly, this resource allows teams to dig into what tests have been eliminated, how will the remaining tests be used, and why are these tests important?

Check it out @  http://www.achieve.org/files/AchieveStudentAssessmentInventory.pdf

Thursday, June 19, 2014

C-Plan (Consolidated Plan) Application – Now Open

I recently received this information from the Iowa Department of Education and thought I'd pass it on....
C-Plan (Consolidated Plan) Application – Now Open
APR, CSIP, DDSDP and Iowa Core Plans are due September 15th. SINA/DINA Plans will not be available until October and are due November 1.
Elements for the APR that are pre-populated by the Department will not be available until August.
** New this year - Additional DDSDP Question - “When was this DDSDP approved by the school board?” – this is a date field that should be populated with the date the board meeting was held during which the DDSDP entered into C-Plan was approved.
Documentation of all C-Plan questions, as well as a webinar for new users, can be found on the Department’s website at https://www.educateiowa.gov/data-reporting/c-plan-consolidated-plan
Merging Districts - Please note that district information will not be updated until mid July. There is no need to wait for this update to enter information into your district’s plans.

Common Core Text Complexity

OK, I get text complexity....but when the Common Core starts talking about Qualitative and Quantitative Measures, I tend to tune out a bit because of its resemblance to my research and statistics class during grad school!  Have no fear.....I stumbled across a document that was published by the New York State Education Department that not only defines the measures of Qualitative and Quantitative Text Complexity, but also includes a GREAT chart of "Common Scale for Brand Level Text Difficulty Ranges" (i.e. Lexile) and Information Text Types.  Check it out @ 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Key Instructional Shifts of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Sometimes looking at implementing the Common Core standards appears as a daunting task!  "There's so much for students to learn!"  "How can I possibly do this?"  "How can I prioritize these things?" 
Achievethecore has put together a great tool that identifies the shifts in Common Core mathematics standards and the Major Clusters, Additional Clusters and Supporting Clusters for grades K-8.  Check out this great resource on achievethecore.org  @ http://achievethecore.org/content/upload/Focus%20in%20Math_091013_FINAL.pdf

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Engaging Students in Writing in Response to Reading

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week I had the honor to learn from one of educations best, Dr. Tim Westerberg @ timwesterberg.com  Throughout the day I feverishly jotted down ideas that I knew I needed to address on the Iowa Core Blog.......enters "Engaging Students in Writing in Response to Reading" and the fantastic resources that have been put out by the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC).

"LDC is a national community of educators providing a teacher-designed and research-proven framework, online tools, and resources for creating literacy-rich experiences that enable all educators to model, lead, and succeed in implementing the high expectations embodied in the Common Core Standards as they accelerate their own professional growth and increase student outcomes"

Looking for a tool to help craft tasks that engage students in writing in response to reading complex text aligned to the Common Core?  Check this out!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creating, Clarifying, Revisiting and Sustaining the Iowa Core Vision

Last week I had the honor to learn from one of educations best, Dr. Tim Westerberg @ timwesterberg.com  Throughout the day I feverishly jotted down ideas that I knew I needed to address on the Iowa Core Blog, but quickly one topic became critical to address.....Creating, Clarifying, Revisiting and Sustaining the Iowa Core Vision!

To no fault of anyone; schools have become so busy implementing the Iowa Core......understanding the standards and working on alignment, creating common assessments, outlining a multi-tiered system of support for students falling through the cracks that we've possibly lost sight of why we're doing what we're doing....the Iowa Core vision has faded.

So here's what I'd like to challenge every educator in Iowa to do...REFLECT!  Reflect on what the Iowa Core look like in your building?  What does it sound like?  How does it feel?  What are students and teachers doing differently now that they weren't doing five years ago? Celebrate the good things that you've accomplished and outline what needs to be done to continue to move the Iowa Core forward!

On March 10, 2014 I blogged "So You Think You're Implementing the Iowa Core standards?"   Included in this post was a great tool that assists teachers in identifying their level of implementation @ http://iowacorenetwork.blogspot.com/2014/03/so-you-think-youre-implementing-iowa.html   Check it out and make it a priority to revisit your Iowa Core vision today!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rubric for Aligning Classroom Lessons & Units to the Common Core

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 achievethecore.org and search for EQuIP rubrics. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Diamond in the Rough

How did another great resource to support the Core slip by me?  This morning I discovered a fantastic toolkit published by the National Education Association @ http://www.nea.org/home/ccss-toolkit.htm
Check it out!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Are Your Classroom Materials, Resources & Assessments Aligned to the Core?

Great discussions are occurring during teacher collaboration/PLC time that lends itself to me sharing the link below.  Often as educator are ensuring that what they are teaching is aligned to the Common Core standards, they also debate whether the materials, resources, and assessments they are using in their classroom are also aligned to the Core.  Check out a fantastic resource @Achievethecore.org to assist teachers with this work.


Monday, March 10, 2014

So You Think You're Implementing the Iowa Core Standards?

As we work with teachers across the state focused on the implementation of the Iowa Core Standards we are reminded of this great tool to identify their level of implementation using the Common Core State Standards Innovation Configuration Map for Transitional Dialogue @ http://dmfa3ba8wpnh6.cloudfront.net/00/000147887cd534a7df9b7cbbd80006/file/122463-CCSSConfigurationMap.pdf

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fine Arts Alignment with the Iowa Core Universal Constructs Resources

The Fine Arts Alignment with the Iowa Core Universal Constructs resources were written to illustrate how fine arts teachers can align their instruction to the universal constructs from the Iowa Core. By showing connections between the universal constructs and fine arts, these resources demonstrate how fine arts support the implementation of the Iowa Core.

Fine arts are particularly well-suited in supporting students in developing the universal constructs important for success in the 21st Century. The Fine Arts Iowa Core Companion documents can be located on/at https://www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/content-areas/arts

Iowa Core Companion documents are intended to fulfill the charge from the Iowa Department of Education that the “work” of implementing the Iowa Core is the responsibility of all educators in Iowa. Iowa Core Companion documents provide support and resources for educators wishing to identify connections to the Iowa Core. The information provided in the companion documents is not required of all schools or districts.

For assistance please contact Rosanne Malek, rosanne.malek@iowa.gov

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top 5 Iowa Core Implementation THINGS TO DO

OK, I wish a "Top 5" was that simple, but to make it manageable, I thought I'd start with a couple of things that districts should be working on during their continued implementation of the Iowa Core.
  • #1  Bring together your District Leadership Team and revisit your Iowa Core Implementation Plan..what does the plan say you're going to do and are you doing it?  If so....celebrate....if not, why not? 
  • #2  Does/how does your plan need to be revised to better meet current Iowa Department of Educations expectations and initiatives?
  • #3  Which outcome(s) of the Iowa Core are you committed to and incorporating into your districts Professional Development Plan?
  • #4  What is your district doing to better understand, implement, differentiate, and extend the learning opportunities of the Iowa Core Standards?
  • #5  Are teaching practices in your districts transforming to better align with the Characteristics of Effective Instruction? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to Monitor Your Implementation of the Iowa Core

It has been brought to our attention that many district level teams struggle with knowing how to monitor the implementation of the Iowa Core.  We have put together a few components to assist with this work.

Assure Delivery of the Planned Activities as stated in your Iowa Core Implementation Plan:
  • Make sure your DLT/Iowa Core team is meeting regularly to monitor the delivery of the Iowa Core Implementation Plan
  • Make sure your DLT/Iowa Core team is setting clear goals and priorities and communicates this with ALL stakeholders
Facilitate Ongoing Support to ALL Staff:
  • DLT/Iowa Core team members review the Iowa Core Implementation Plan progress at established, regular staff meetings
  •   DLT/Iowa Core team provides adequate professional development time to accomplish the Iowa Core work
  • DLT/Iowa Core team collects perceptual and hard data related to individual and organizational change and needs of the implementation of the Iowa Core
  • DLT/Iowa Core team provides frequent opportunities for teachers to collaborate with peers
  • DLT/Iowa Core team plans for assistance to both new and experiences staff
  • DLT/Iowa Core team collects feedback on PD and provides reciprocal accountability
  • DLT/Iowa Core team systematically measures, analyzes, and interpret data
  • DLT/Iowa Core team use data to guide adjustments
Monitor Teacher Implementation of Professional Development & Learnings
  • DLT/Iowa Core team regularly checks for fidelity of implementation of incorporating the Iowa Core Outcomes into the teaching and learning environments
  • DLT/Iowa Core team modifies or adjusts activities and/or professional development based upon implementation data analysis
  • DLT/Iowa Core team reports progress to all stakeholders on a regular basis                                                          

Friday, January 17, 2014

Knowledge is POWERFUL

In light of the Common Core coming under some scrutiny, I feel that its necessary that we, as educators, take time to understand the issue and advocate for what's best for kids.  Knowledge is POWERFUL! 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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 @ https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B26qlKUzLGEyZzZERHBWOXc2REE/edit?usp=sharing We made this review available in the spring.
3.  We would recommend that these revisions be done in a timely manner.  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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Iowa Reading Research Center

Iowa Reading Research Center

Are you looking for the information about literacy to share with staff, parents, board members, or the public? The place to go to get that information is the Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC) website. The center’s purpose is to apply current research for the development of literacy across Iowa. 

The most recent information shared by the IRRC is about the current state of literacy instruction
in Iowa. The three regents universities surveyed educational staff across Iowa to find out what is currently being done with literacy instruction. A report summarizing those findings is located on
the IRRC website.

The IRRC website also has information on the following topics:
     •Reading assessments                                            •Data reporting system
     •Evidence-based interventions and strategies         •Early literacy framework
     •Summer reading program                                       •Professional learning
     •Parent resources and information                                   

For more information, contact Dr. Michelle Hosp, Director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, at mhosp@gwaea.org or Iowa Reading Research Center.

*Published with permission from the Keystone AEA "Daker Report"