The revised standards developed during Stage 1 should still be considered draft versions, as the initial implementation process may impact and shape the standards further. Flexibility and transparency in this second stage are paramount.
During the initial implementation stage, attention should be paid to curriculum mapping, instructional materials, and professional development, all while keeping stakeholders involved and in the loop regarding plans and progress. The timelines and budget considerations outlined in Stage 1 may need to be amended based on feedback received from diverse stakeholder groups, guidance from experts, and on the number of iterations needed to reach this stage of the process.
See the Initial Implementation Overview section below for additional overview information.
Initial Implementation Items to Consider:
- Outline and communicate standards implementation schedule with stakeholder groups, including any revisions made as a result of Stage 1 activities (examples: California Common Core State Standards Systems Implementation Plan, Colorado Transitional Action Plan, Ohio Suggested Timeline for Transitioning to the Revised 2017 Learning Standards for Mathematics, Rhode Island Get Set! Information for Administrators). Consider:
- At state level: Instructional materials and communication with publishers, assessment schedules (including time for item development and pilot testing), professional development, supports for struggling schools;
- At district level: Development of guidance, use of current instructional materials with new standards, curriculum mapping; and
- At school level: Professional development activities for teachers/administrators, development of new lessons.
- Engage with schools/districts to gather feedback on new standards, which can inform implementation guidance, professional development, and messaging. (example: Alaska Phase Placement Survey). Consider:
- Exit surveys in professional development sessions;
- Digital feedback forms; and
- Other well-established means of communication.
- Disseminate information to community, including differences between new and old standards and implementation timelines, and solicit feedback via multiple avenues with clear deadlines (examples: Colorado Academic Standards Review and Revision, New York State Commissioner of Education and Standards Review Committee Members Describe the Standards Review Process – Video). Consider:
- Posting on a public website;
- Surveys, emailed and/or available on a public website;
- In-person meetings (example: Oregon Parent Workshop Checklist);
- Press releases; and
- Agenda item(s) for state board of education meetings.
- Evaluate the impact of gaps in grade-level understanding from old to new standards, known as the one-year gap of understanding.
- Collect examples of high-quality lessons aligned to new standards.
- Evaluate potential impacts on statewide accountability systems.
- Analyze gaps in current instructional materials to see if supplemental materials are needed (examples: Louisiana Online Instructional Materials Review Resources and Curriculum Crosswalks, Oregon Adoption Criteria for Instructional Materials).
- Identify external professional development options to fill any needs identified through stakeholder engagement (example: Ohio Revised Standards and Model Curricula Targeted Professional Development).
- Circle back across revision committees to refine goals, standards, and implementation practices based on feedback as necessary.
Initial Implementation Resources:
- Common Core Implementation Workbook
- Communicating South Carolina’s Standards Review Process
- Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the Elementary School Leader
- Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the Secondary School Leader
- Learning Forward – Meet the Promise of Content Standards: The Principal
- Next Generation Science Standards District Implementation Indicators
Initial Implementation Overview
Once a broad timeline has been established, plans for initial implementation at the state, district, and school levels should be communicated and put into action.
At the state level, State Education Agency (SEA) staff should work to carry out the following: cement deadlines and funding surrounding current instructional materials and future adoption of instructional materials, finalize assessment schedule(s), identify and schedule necessary professional development, develop supports for struggling schools, address any implications for teacher evaluation, and confirm expectations and timelines around progress monitoring. To support initial implementation at the district level, SEAs should develop guidance to help districts determine the degree of alignment of their current instructional materials and how and when to supplement these to bring them into alignment with the new standards. Curriculum mapping exercises should be conducted to support this effort and illustrate where gaps may exist. To support teachers and school-level administrators with the transition to the new standards and associated instructional materials and assessments, professional development opportunities should be planned and provided. Time and resources should also be devoted to the collaborative development of new lessons that address instructional shifts resulting from the new standards.
Communication during this stage should be informed by the state’s goals for stakeholder engagement. Considerations should be given to the cohesive rollout of the new/revised standards, professional development opportunities, and curriculum planning and associated instructional materials. It is especially important to communicate the initial implementation plan to classroom teachers clearly to ensure that classroom learning opportunities focus on the correct standards (old vs. new) according to transition plans. Communication and stakeholder engagement are closely linked, as effective engagement happens when timelines and expectations are communicated clearly and transparently. Well established protocols for two-way communication (from SEA/committee to stakeholders and from stakeholders to SEA/committee) allow for a streamlined process of collecting and synthesizing data that may inform further revisions to the new standards and/or provide valuable feedback around the initial implementation plan.
Most of the data collected, synthesized, and analyzed during this stage will come directly from stakeholder feedback. It is important to collect feedback on an ongoing basis throughout this stage and across diverse implementation activities. Insights from educators and other stakeholder groups about their experiences with initial implementation of the new standards can be helpful in developing further implementation guidance.
Analysis of data collected should inform the decision-making process, and may necessitate going backwards to refine goals and implementation practices to ensure success for the full standards review/revision process moving forward. The analysis and decision-making conducted should reflect the circular nature of this process, and may be informed through multiple rounds of data collection and analysis. Diverse stakeholder feedback should be used to inform decisions about the new/revised standards and concurrent initiatives (professional development, curriculum planning, instructional materials, assessments, etc.). Additionally, the application of feedback in subsequent revisions should be communicated back to stakeholders to reinforce the importance of their input.