This series of blogs will summarize and highlight important portions of our recent white paper, The New York City DOE/CUNY Library Collaborative: Bridging the Gap Between High School and College, which you can view here.
The whitepaper presents the progression and processes of the New York Collaborative Curriculum Revision Project (CCRP), a collaborative of high school teachers, college faculty, and librarians formed to build upon the new Common Core State Standards and better prepare students for post-secondary success. The posts will include sections quoted from the white paper as well as our own editorial.
Part 4: CCRP Working Sessions and Immediate Results
In Post 3, we looked at the formation of the CCRP and the development of working groups to do the hard work of curriculum revision. Today, we’ll complete our look at the first working sessions along with their results.
In an initial series of working sessions in 2012, working groups covering ELA, Social Studies, and Science each met twice. The first session was meant to spark conversation and share ideas, while the second was spent on actual revision of education units. This did not leave enough time for the revision work, so the Collaborative redesigned the model for a second series of meetings in 2013.
The Spring 2013 series partnered a high school librarian, a subject teacher, and an English Language Arts teacher with a college librarian, a subject professor, and a writing professor for five working sessions. The first two sessions focused on the theme of fostering a cohesive learning community across the institutions that had a shared purpose. The participants spent time developing a common understanding of educational goals and values, expectations regarding college readiness, as well as the challenges each faced in their own institution. For these sessions, the facilitator posed questions and guided discussions that allowed for digression and discovery with the ultimate purpose of articulating a set of shared goals that could guide the curricular revision process.
The following three working sessions focused on building communities of practice. The participants’ time was devoted to thinking through the learning outcomes of a single high school curricular unit and revising the structure and content of the unit in light of those outcomes.
The working groups utilized the Consultancy Protocol Method to manage the revision process. In this method, a high school teacher intruded the unit to be revised and gave the context for the reading and writing assignments. The other members of the group recording their questions on post-it notes, and the facilitator worked with the group to categorize the questions and comments. This method focused the discussions and laid the foundation for the rest of the working sessions.
When the second CCRP working sessions were complete, the beginning of a redesigned curricular unit had been created. It was built to help students learn and also become more adept at reading critically, and to create habits of thought that would be necessary in a college environment.
The working group decided that the curricular unit should include a number of short, progressively more complex reading assignments that could be scaffolded into the curriculum… By the end of the last session, the unit had an approach to revision that positioned the high school teacher and school librarian to continue the revision process for subsequent use in the classroom in the second pilot.
Check back next week as we continue our blog series by looking at how the CCRP can serve as a model that can be duplicated by educators and librarians across the country. To learn more about the Collaborative and the CCRP, access the full whitepaper here. Read other entries in this blog series here.
About the Author
Geoff is a Renaissance man, who can often be found reading about obscure historical topics, working on cars, or debating world affairs. He comes from a family of teachers and has a BA in communications.