Standards Implementation: Subject Area


1) Work as colleagues in your building if you are not on your own. If you are on your own, consider having colleagues from the other grade levels joining you in this process. The rich discussions you have in this process are by themselves worth the journey.


2) Do your homework! On this site, go to your subject area's "Documents" page to gather ideas and directions. Go to the "Videos" page to see some ideas in action and check out links, blogs and articles you find most relevant to your situation. This process is worthy of an entire year of professional development(!), but should at least be accessed in some meaningful way before beginning.


3) Determine a list of the "essential" academic standards for your grade level; why are you there, and what are the academic student outcomes from being in your subject area? What standards are you academically going to hold your students accountable for? THEN, what standards are you socially (Maine Guiding Principles!) going to hold your students accountable for? This overall list should intentionally be a catch all for everything you believe you should be doing or would like to do.


4) Now use this as a framework for what standards will be present, accounted for and individually assessed for each course/class/grade level. As will be discussed in the next section, Standards Implementation by Course, make SURE that these indicators are DOABLE, MANAGEABLE and able to be done for each INDIVIDUAL student. 


In attaching these standards to your classes with a broad brushstroke, you will essentially see what you are there to do. Does this align with your beliefs and expectations as they stood before undergoing this process? Alternately, you can bypass steps 3 and 4 until AFTER you have followed the steps for Standards Implementation by Class. The benefit of doing so will be the immediate reflection process it provides for you. Look at your final course listings and the corresponding standards and indicators and put them all together: are you doing what you believe you're doing? Are there gaps? Is there redundancy? Mandated course standards vs. elective course standards? A proper distribution (and progression) of academic standards and accountability? Reflect and revise, reflect and revise. No doubt this process is a viable one on even an annual basis. It serves as a great "gut check" to see if you are on target and providing exactly what you want to be providing for your students in your building.


Next steps may include aligning this work with parallel work being done by your colleagues in your subject area across all grade levels. Are you all aligned and progressive in your academic standards and student expectations? There is a significant distinction between a co-curricular activity/club dressed in academic subject's clothing vs. an authentically academic subject. Have you successfully articulated that you are, in fact, the latter by articulating your rigorous, subject specific, academic standards?


This is a process rich with prospective Professional Development implications! If you haven't gone through this process yet, consider making it a primary goal during this school year!