I’m probably one of the few people who still has a road map in the car. I want to see the overall trip, not just the next turn. What if there is a quirky roadside attraction or a great natural wonder along the way? What if my phone goes dead or loses reception and I don’t have GPS? The road map is there to guide my travels.
I see the College and Career Readiness Standards much like a road map: CCR standards lay out the highway for instruction. As ABE teachers, it is easy to go off-roading and visit the topics that most interest you or in which you have expertise. But the CCR standards bring us back onto the highway. It is common ground. We will get to where we want to go the quickest and easiest way.
But I don’t want to give up my quirky roadside attractions! I don’t have to with CCR standards. Use that favorite topic as the basis for “producing clear and coherent writing” or “delineating and evaluating an argument and specific claims in a text.” Perhaps there is an opportunity to “draw informal comparative inferences about two populations” and “summarize, represent and interpret data on two categorical and quantitative variables” (i.e., data and statistics) or tie in geometry and algebra.
That’s what the CCR standards allow us to do. Students can travel between ABE sites and yet we all are meeting the same standards on the same highway. CCR standards provide us common language and expectations. What a student starts at one ABE site can be carried to another and continued.
As our students move to other sites, we either contact them or the new site contacts us. What a great opportunity for networking and collaboration! Because of the CCR standards, we can tell the new site exactly where the student is on their future pathway road map: “He’s done with reading and language, but still needs to work on 'producing a clear and coherent writing' by 'strengthening the writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying a new approach.'”
It’s an incredible time for ABE sites... and a lot of work to change our thinking and procedures, but in the end, CCR standards unite us in a common mission and allow our students to continue learning no matter which ABE site they attend.
|Nancy Rosman is an Education Director for the Department of Corrections at the Faribault facility. She has 36 years of education experience in the classroom, as a consultant and as an administrator.|