CSLA Conference Takeaways on Common Core, College & Career Readiness

I am still in the midst of processing all the great takeaways from an incredibly exhilarating California School Library Association Conference February 6 – 9. Please see my posting on my personal blog for a summary of some of the highlights, including the Unconference I organized and a session on Twitter as a professional development tool that I co-presented. The posting here focuses on several sessions related to Common Core and college and career readiness.

Kevin Baird Keynote

Kevin Baird, Chairman and Senior Faculty at the Curriculum Institute and the Center for College and Career Readiness, was our keynote speaker. ¬†I have been finding lately that my best “notes” from a conference presentation are my tweets, so here they are, assembled using a new favorite tool called Storify, from his session:

Mr. Baird also helped me to better understand the need to help students stretch themselves to be able to read more complex texts. One of the points he shared is that many out-of-high school careers students may enter, such, for example, as law and public safety, actually require them to read more complex texts at higher lexile levels than college texts. That means that we do need to help students but providing more complex texts, but I also believe that the more pleasure reading they do, the better readers they will become, and the more able they will be to read complex material. So, I see my job in the library providing both stretch texts and engaging pleasure reading.

Mr. Baird also shared how the new standards include different depth of knowledge levels and advised us to work to become experts in supporting teaching at the needed level for each standard.

He was extremely generous with us as conference attendees, and provided us with free access to an online Depth of Knowledge guide, model performance tasks, and Common Core-aligned lesson plans that I will be able to study and share with my teachers and administration.

College Readiness-Related Concurrent Sessions

I also attended two concurrent sessions that dealt with preparing students to be college-ready. Sara Oremland, the Teacher Librarian at Albany High School, shared two videos that she produced, one for students and one for teachers, to share what she learned from interviewing college students, professors, and librarians sharing what high school research should be like to prepare for college research. Here is the student video, intended to motivate them to conduct effective research:

Here is the teacher video, intended to help high school teachers understand the benefits of Authentic Research projects:

In another concurrent session, Doug Achterman, Head Librarian at Gavilan College and a former high school teacher librarian, shared results of a series of interviews he conducted with community college instructors about their expectations¬†around students’ reading, writing and research. Far too many students come to community college improperly prepared with the reading, writing, and research skills needed. He helped us explore the implications for supporting teachers and students through our library programs to better prepare students for community or other college expectations, which are in alignment with what we need to be teaching as part of Common Core.

I will be working to use and share this material throughout the rest of this school year and beyond.

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