At the CCTF third meeting the focus was on best practices, districts that have "been there, done that" and lessons learned along the way. Dr. Salvatore Menzo, Superintendent of Wallingford Public Schools, stated that although they have been working on this process since Fall 2010, the path was not clear of bumps. Dr. Menzo shared Wallingford's journey to Common Core, along with his visions, resources, and stake holders involved.
Three words (Wallingford chooses 3 words to focus their mission each year) to summarize the information shared: Community, Collaboration, and Knowledge.
It was so glaringly evident in Dr. Menzo's presentation that EVERYONE, EVERYONE! in Wallingford is invested in the successful implementation of Connecticut's Core Standards. His community outreach spans from senior citizens to business leaders, students of all ages, staff from every area, parents, Boards and Officials. He involves EVERYONE, EVERYONE! in "Jargon free communication", he has groups of parents "proof" letters and brochures to make sure they can be clearly understood. Communication about CCSS is constant and consistant, there are no mixed messages or confusion in Wallingford... CCSS are good for kids, and failure is NOT an option!
Second, the collaboration to support the needs of Dr. Menzo's staff have been a priority in strategic planning, budget, and scheduling. Time has been given for PD, consultants and coaches have been brought in, release time and sabbaticals have been arranged to create building "experts".
Finally, it was so impressive, that Dr. Menzo shared clear communication, opportunities to question, and ways to participate in learning about CCSS... not only for staff, but for ALL OF HIS STAKEHOLDERS! The knowledge level of the Board of Finance, Town Council, and Business Leaders about Common Core was so amazing!
Wallingford has truly put the needs of it's youngest citizens at the forefront of it's decision making process... CCSS are embedded into every conversation taking place.
Next week (we have increased our time and frequency for meetings...) we begin discussing "What makes a good recommendation?", I challenge the CCTF to look to these districts who have already made their lists of "lesson learned" and utilize the experience, the input, and the resources we already have tested and found to be successful!
"It takes a village to raise a child” and so ‘We’ must communicate, collaborate and coordinate opportunities to authentically work together. We must meaningfully cooperate with all stakeholders in education. Parents (and grandparents) are our partners in education. Businesses are not just future employers, but intellectual and financial stakeholders too. Teacher, support staff, and student unions all have a say. So do school boards and elected officials. ‘We’ can only find success in being open to cooperative ventures and adventures with the common goal of being in and of service to our children. After all, we all want the same things!" (Truss)
My thanks and appreciation to Wallingford Public Schools and Dr. Menzo for sharing their journey.
"It Takes A Village." Omotola Akinsola. The Parament Theme, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Truss, David. "Open Educator Manifesto." Connected Principals. N.p., 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.