When a new initiative is being introduced into a system, most of the efforts focus on planning, training, implementation, and evaluation. The Common Core, an initiative on a level never before seen in educational reform efforts, shares this focus. For several years we have anticipated the implementation with curriculum development and educator training. We are making progress toward meeting the technology capacity needed in every school. Lately, the discussion is moving toward the assessments based on the Core.
What is often missing in the design of reform efforts is readiness. Despite the capacity needed on so many levels for the successful implementation of the Core, readiness is a critical first step.
Readiness goes beyond the capacity building, and instead refers to the school climate and group norms that must be in place before the implementation occurs. The climate must be a safe and positive environment conducive to learning. The development of norms among educators is just as vital as those developed within individual classrooms with students.
The Core requires deep levels of discourse and collaboration that can only occur when there is a sufficient level of trust among students, between students and teachers, and among educators in a school building.
By tending to the social and emotional health of our school buildings now, we will create and strengthen both our school climates and our relationships. In doing so, we will have achieved a readiness necessary for successful implementation of the Core.
"Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success." ~Henry Ford