Schools across the country are preparing for the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). School leaders will play an important role in this implementation. Schools have been struggling to meet the challenge of making sure every student reaches “proficient” status on state assessments, and the implementation of the CCSS will increase the difficulty of these assessments.
There will also be difficulties in the classroom environment as teachers, students and parents navigate through changes in classroom instruction, and assessments of student skills. There are a number of different resources available to help school leaders and teachers as they work to meet the challenges of implementing these new standards. Private, public, and charter schools have already begun preparing their school leadership for the challenges the implementation of common core may cause.
Private schools are not mandated to align with CCSS, but many are following that path. Each school entity is implementing CCSS in different ways, some choosing to hire out help in regards to implementation, some choosing to begin the preparation years in advance, and some are still in the final stages. Marketing Expert Lisa Williams spoke with three of these types of schools about the implementation of CCSS and the impact they have seen.
John Reyes is the Director of Education Technology for the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Schools. Spread out over three counties in Southern California, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles governs over 270 private schools – none of which were required to implement the new Common Core State Standards, yet for the benefit of their students, the Archdiocese of Catholic Schools thought it was important to do.
Reyes discussed the Archdiocese’s decision to implement the Common Core Standards and the impact they have seen since. Reyes schools began the implementation of common core standards about two years ago. The decision to implement the standards, was not one that was made lightly. Reyes says that they looked at the concepts and skills that students are being asked to do. When looking at the high level of concepts and skills included in the CCSS, he said it was best to implement them because they believe it gives students a “really great shot to continue to be leaders in college and in their career.”
In a recent interview with an education authority and writer for About.com for Education, Derrick Meador, he said, communicating with parents on a regular basis is a key ingredient to increasing parental involvement. Reyes agrees with this saying, “Parent communication is absolutely important because if parents, teachers, principals and community members are on the same page about where a child is and where a child needs to be, that creates the best recipe for success.” For more information on the Los Angeles Archdiocese Catholic Schools, visit their website at: http://www.lacatholicschools.org/.
Dr. Dan Stepenosky is the Superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District in Ventura County California, which has over 11,000 students. His schools are going into their second year of the new Common Core State Standards implementation. Dr. Stepenosky shared his thoughts on his schools’ progress so far, and what factors have contributed, and will continue to contribute, to a successful transition into this new frontier of education.
Stepenosky’s school district began the implementation of the standards last year. The schools goal was to have a 25% implementation and they exceeded that goal by implementing the standards by 50%. He believes the shift to CCSS has been huge. It has included professional development for teachers, to help get them up to speed and shifts in structural practices needed to keep parents and community members informed and comfortable with what is going on in the classroom. When asked what approach the school has taken in implementing the CCSS in their district Stepenosky said, “Focusing on the required instructional shifts that we are looking for has been our focus. We have done work in that area. We always love to do more and support our teachers more, but they have taken it and run with it so that has been good to watch.”
Stepenosky explains, “Even without the Common Core shift, parental engagement is huge as far as schools go. You need great staff, a great community, and then you need parental support to make the school great. Regardless of Common Core, the role the parents play in everything is important, from helping kids get to bed at the right time to brushing their teeth and flossing, it’s the little things that matter. The role of the parent is always critical to test our youth, and for change it is paramount as well.” You can follow the progress of the Las Virgenes Unified School District at: http://www.lvusd.org/.
Judy Burton is the President and CEO of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter management organization that oversees multiple independent charter schools in southern California. The Alliance College-Ready Public Schools have a total student body population of around 10,000 students. Burton shared what the effect the implementation of the Common Core State Standards are having on her organization’s schools and students. Burton’s school began the implementation of the CCSS last year. They are now fully transitioned in all twenty-six of their schools. She says the shift has been huge due to how the curriculum is taught, but that the “K-12 curriculum and instructional strategies will be better aligned to what is expected of students to be college-ready.”
Their implementation approach began by examining what the standards are and how instruction would need to change to support student success with the standards. They collaborated with Pearson; a company that helped develop and write the CCSS. Their approach has been digital.
Burton explains, “We chose this approach so students would be well ready for online state assessments at the end of the year. Pearson Common Core courses are all on the iPad right now. All of the content – the curriculum, the units, and the lessons – are on the iPad.
We train our teachers on how to provide the instruction. Our students already know how to use the iPad and have been primarily using laptops before this year. But every Alliance student, and that is around 10,000 students, has an individual iPad as do the teachers, and it’s a major part of our implementation of Common Core this year.”
In a recent interview with an education authority and writer for About.com for Education, Derrick Meador, said that the level of parental involvement would need to increase in order for students to be successful with the Common Core Standards and that communication plays a big role in increasing parental involvement. Burton agrees and adds, “Parents need to understand the shift in things like instruction is no longer about teaching students to find the right answers. The level of rigor is greater as we transition into the new curriculum, both in terms of our teacher awareness and students and a family becoming accustomed to what is expected.” For more information on the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, make sure to check out their website at: http://www.laalliance.org/.
About Media Authority Marketing
Media Authority Marketing, led by President and New Media Strategist Lisa Williams, is a unique niche marketing firm that works with organizations nationwide to highlight the great things non profits are doing in the community.