What do hiking and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have in common? I recently returned from my first visit to Yosemite National Park, where I spent three days hiking some intense trails! As I reflected on my sore muscles and the pride of my accomplishments, I began to consider how preparing for this hiking trip was similar to preparing for an effective CCSS implementation.
A prepared hiker/ CCSS implementor:
- Plans ahead
- Gathers the necessary supplies
- Does research
- Knows to expect the unexpected
- Trains ahead of time
- Doesn’t go at it alone
- Stops along the way to reference guide points, replenish energy with supplies, collaborate with colleagues, or just rest
- Celebrates the small milestones as well as the final goal
- Takes pictures, celebrating the journey as much as the destination
While these may sound like simple reminders, whether you are planning an extensive hike or a worthwhile CCSS implementation, time and energy must be spent planning long before you begin. I am so excited about the work we are doing in my district, thanks to some fantastic leadership, great collaboration, and LOTS of planning and communicating.
The more I hear about what is NOT happening in other places, the more upset I become about the future of CCSS and education. We have a prime opportunity before us to not only change the face of teaching and learning, but truly support a transition to preparing our students for a global society and a world beyond the four walls of a classroom. However, if districts and schools do not capitalize on this opportunity now, they may not make it to the top of the mountain (which my father and I did accomplish!).
I hope that you, as a reader here and a leader somewhere, take the initiative to support your CCSS implementation or begin to challenge other leaders to come together to begin the planning phase! We still have time… but we can’t go at it alone.