Over the course of the last decade, we’ve seen many examples of states adopting best practices in global learning from one another. The wide-scale adoption of the Common Core State Standards, and specifically how it relates to global competence, is a new opportunity for states to leverage one another’s thinking and models. We’ve invited Cheri Quinlan, the coordinator of World Languages, International Education, and Gifted and Talented Programs at the New Jersey Department of Education, to share with us a collaboration between New Jersey, West Virginia, and Washington—as well as many ready-to-use tools for your own state. –The editors
By Cheri Quinlan
The advent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) marked an historical event in the United States. For the first time ever, a majority of states had agreed upon what all students, regardless of where they live or what their circumstances are, should know and be able to do in mathematics and in language arts and literacy.
At the same time, The Longview Foundation, announced a multi-state grant competition to promote international education and to create models for other states. How can states come together both in person and virtually to create a model that moves this nation forward in its effort to prepare all students to be ready for college and an interconnected world? New Jersey, Washington, and West Virginia, each with their own unique approach to international education, were thrilled to be named recipients of the Longview Foundation grant and excited by the opportunity to develop a three-state partnership to create such models.
Here’s what we did:
New Jersey developed the Connecting to the Common Core institute, a three-day professional development opportunity for teams of K-12 teachers in all content areas. The institute was designed to facilitate the development of interdisciplinary curricular materials and effective instructional practices that address the expectations of the CCSS.
The goal of the institute was for each team to develop interdisciplinary project based learning scenarios that incorporated global perspectives while addressing the expectations of English Language Arts Writing Standard 1. On Day One, Heidi Hayes Jacobs discussed how global perspectives could be effectively incorporated into learning experiences addressing the CCSS. Afterwards, participants explored products and practices to support the integration of global perspectives and to move the learning beyond the confines of the classroom. On Day Two, the focus moved to performance-based assessments. Mari Pearlman provided guidance in developing assessments linked to Writing Standard 1. Subsequently, participants explored Writing Standard 1 in depth, examining the components of an argument in a discipline-specific content. The last day of the institute, Carol Ann Tomlinson addressed the group about the importance of incorporating differentiated instruction strategies when designing lessons. During the fall of the current school year, the teams of teachers will come together again to examine student work related to the scenarios and to develop strategies for turnkey training within their schools and districts.
The two partner states played an important role in laying the groundwork for the Connecting to the Common Core institute. West Virginia had initiated a two-year Go Global program that provided training for teams of teachers from schools committed to enhancing global awareness. Representatives from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Washington and the Department of Education in New Jersey attended the 2010 Go Global Institute, presented on initiatives in their states, and served as ‘critical friends’ during participant work sessions. Later in the summer of 2010, Washington sponsored a Global Competence institute. Representatives from New Jersey and West Virginia participated and presented at the institute. These face-to-face meetings served as a catalyst for building strong collegial relationships that continue through a virtual meeting environment.
It is anticipated that educators in Washington and West Virginia will implement the scenarios in their classrooms and collegial discussions centered on student work will take place virtually among teachers from the three-state partnership. Imagine how far reaching and impactful this work might be if the readers of this article choose to replicate the process in their states. By providing open access to all materials used during the institute it is hoped that is exactly what will happen. All materials used during the institute—presentation slides, archived webinars, and resources related to integrating global perspectives, developing an argument, creating performance-based assessment, and providing differentiated learning experiences—are stored online for others to use. Once the scenarios are ready for publication they may be accessed at the same link.
Learn more about International Education in Washington.