Implementing the Common Core Throughout Your State with a Leadership Network
By Cameron Pipkin
We talked last week about the leadership network that Kentucky has established for making decisions concerning how to Impelement the Common Core Standards, and for communicating messages and training from the folks in the state education office to the teachers in the classroom. For those of you who missed it, the structure looks like this:
On top of what we’ve already discussed, the Leadership Network has been effective because it makes teachers at every level a part of the implementation process, and not just bystanders or people taking orders.
“We believe that teachers need to be at the table when district leaders are having conversations about transforming teaching and learning across the state,” says Associate Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, Felicia Cummings Smith.
And to ensure that everything runs smoothly within the framework, there are leaders who are responsible for traversing all of its levels and making sure that teachers are receiving the correct messages and training. These leaders are called content network specialists. Content network specialists are chosen through a very careful screening process, and are selected from among the best educators in the state. They run the content leadership networks, but spend the majority of their time working throughout the state, training at sites. They are in school buildings as much as possible, ideally every day, supervising training.
As a group, they have four goals for Common Core implementation that they have worked to reach in 3 years’ time:
- Interpret the Standards–what they really imply for teaching and learning.
- Decide how to translate those standards into targets that students can see and reach.
- Identify materials and resources to support teaching of standards. If they already exist in the classroom, and if not, where they can be procured.
- Develop local assessments to see if students are on track, and to intervene if they aren’t.
- Identify characteristics of what effective teaching and learning within the Standards will look like.
This model may not work in every state, but in a place like Kentucky, it has assured that teachers and leaders understand the Common Core, and that students succeed within the Core. This is an excellent example of how to Impelement the Common Core Standards.