eSchool News April 15, 2012
by Laura Devaney
Webinar explores tips, advice as most states adopt the common standards
As states move toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, school principals must ensure they are fully equipped to help classroom teachers incorporate the standards as effectively as possible.
Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holiday recently observed that the state’s educators face a challenge in identifying high-quality, engaging instructional resources that support and reinforce the new Common Core State Standards—something that is true for all states, said Tracey Lamb, principal of Fulton County High School in Hickman, Ky.
Kentucky was the first state to adopt the common standards. The state has been working on aligning its instruction to the Common Core State Standards since June 2010, and all schools in the state participate in high school and college readiness tests in grades 8, 10, and 11.
Some efforts include revising curriculum maps and pacing guides, and making samples of instructional units available to help teachers.
10 Keys for School Leaders
Lamb said there are a handful of key ways a principal can lead his or her school’s change efforts when it comes to implementing the Common Core standards:
- Become educated on the Common Core State Standards inside and out.
- Actively participate in all available trainings offered, and apply lessons learned.
- Use all tools available through your state and district.
- Build capacity within your school building.
- Make sure vertical alignment occurs between elementary, middle, and high schools.
- Use free apps, such as the Common Core Standards app.
- Provide professional learning opportunities and peer networking.
- Ensure time is built in for teachers to use and implement the Common Core standards for instruction and assessment.
- Monitor, monitor, monitor progress.
- Provide time for teachers to analyze data and make necessary revisions.
KY Leadership Cohorts
Kentucky has created Leadership Network Cohort Trainings, which are modeled on the most current research-based data available on effective professional development.
- There are eight cohorts in the state, and the program focuses on capacity-building.
- Teams from school districts attend training and obtain resources, and as a team they put together a plan regarding how they will deliver those materials and that knowledge to their own staff.
The state also recently implemented the Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System—a program that lets teachers access Common Core standards, programs of study, deconstructed standards, student information, and more.
- Principals can perform “learning checks” three or four times a year to ensure that teachers are on target and that students understand the material, Lamb said.
- Classroom walk-throughs with meaningful, immediate feedback to teachers, as well as honest evaluations of teachers, is key.