Focusing on the How: Guidance for School and District Leaders on Supporting Teachers Through the Transition to the Common Core
This paper is designed to help school and district leaders reflect on their efforts to support their teachers’ transition to the Common Core and to identify one or two priority areas on which to focus as they move forward with their implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The paper is constructed around three rubrics that the Achievement Network (ANet) has developed, based on what they have learned from their work with diverse schools across many states. ANet provides case studies to offer concrete examples framing the use of these rubrics within schools, as well as questions designed to help leadership teams reflect together.
ANet identifies a significant need in schools and districts as they delve into the work of supporting their teachers in the transition to the Common Core, which is that educators need guidance on HOW to manage their transition, rather than on WHAT they are transitioning. The three sets of rubrics–Leader Action, Teacher Actions, School Structures–help articulate components of a successful transition, with guidelines for measuring what basic practice looks like, as compared with innovating practice along those components. The “how” of managing transition from basic to innovating is still left undefined, although the guiding questions along with the case studies of school communities provide compelling examples of leadership teams going through the decision-making process. While not a comprehensive tool for implementing the new standards, this guidance document does provide a foundation for beginning to think about the necessary components of change, and help school leadership teams identify and prioritize their needs.