Common Core Insights: Local Perspectives

In late 2013, the Learning First Alliance began conducting Common Core-focused e-interviews with leading education practitioners and with staff representing our member organizations. These interviews are designed to highlight various aspects of the implementation process from diverse levels of the education system. The series features perspectives from school boards, superintendents, educators and others. LFA's objective is to raise up the voices of those individuals who are leading this complicated and critical effort, and to share their wisdom and best practices as far and wide as possible.

Teresa Tosh and Jill Lachenmayr, Assistant Superintendents, Kansas
October 5, 2015

Across Kansas, districts have used a number of effective strategies to ensure that CCSS implementation has been successful. In particular, administrators have focused on building district cultures that place real value on the new standards and which treat the standards as a permanent improvement to teaching and learning, as opposed to a temporary reform. In this Q&A,Teresa Tosh, Assistant Superintendent for Learning Services for USD 261 Haysville Schools (which enrolls more than 5,000 students across nine schools) and Jill Lachenmayr, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Affairs for USD 385 Andover Public Schools, share their experiences.

Mike Berblinger and Jerri Kemble, Distict Administrators, Kansas
October 5, 2015

Mike Berblinger is Superintendent of Buhler USD 313, a five school district in central Kansas. Jerri Kemble is Assistant Superintendent of Educational Programs & Technology for Lawrence Public Schools, USD 497, which serves close to 11,000 students across 30 schools. In this Q&A, they share how their districts are building a culture that supports new, higher standards.

Tammy Bartels, Past-President, Kansas PTA
October 5, 2015

Tammy Bartels, president of Kansas PTA from 2013 until July 2015, shares her thoughts on parent engagement and student learning under the new standards.

Daniel Peabody and Cory Notestine, Award-Winning School Counselors
July 9, 2015

Two leading school counselors—Dan Peabody of Patapsco Middle School in Howard County, Maryland, and Cory Notestine of Alamosa High School in Alamosa, Colorado—discuss how the implementation of the Common Core has impacted their work and the ways in which they are collaborating with colleagues during the transition to the new standards.

Tiffany Kwas & Kelly LaRosa, Eden Central PTA, New York
November 10, 2014

Eden Central PTA past-president Tiffany Kwas, along with Kelly LaRosa, the school's curriculum coordinator, discuss their parent engagement work around Common Core. In response to parent requests, their programming unpacked the standards and explained the shifts in classroom instruction. 

Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at Pascack Valley Regional High School District, New Jersey
September 18, 2014

Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, a 2014 NSBA 20 to Watch winner, highlights the importance of effective technology integration and encouraging students to take the lead in their learning when it comes to creating rich learning environments. Common Core implementation is encouraging the use of assessment data to guide instructional shifts, and it is offering an opportunity to devise new ways of learning and assessment. 

Eric Sparks, Assistant Director, American School Counselors Association (ASCA) 
August 26, 2014

Eric Sparks discusses ASCA's Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success, which identify and prioritize the specific attitudes, knowledge and skills that students should be able to demonstrate as a result of a school counseling program. These noncognitive competencies are essential for college-and-career readiness, and an important foundation for much of the more rigorous and engaging teaching opportunities available with the Common Core. 

Thomas Payton, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) State Representative and Principal at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School, New York
July 21, 2014

Principal Payton shares his thoughts on teacher evaluation and the tools and technology necessary to support appropriate feedback. He also discusses what he finds exciting about the Common Core State Standards and his priorities as a school building leader. 

Mark White, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) President and Principal at Hintgen Elementary School, Wisconsin
June 19, 2014

Principal White discusses the changing role of the principalship, the importance of supporting classroom teachers and the importance of the PreK-3 continuum. He also urges school leaders to allow staff the necessary time to collaborate around Common Core implementation, and he highlights how his school's recently created PLCs have helped facilitate this teamwork. 

Anne Byrne, National School Boards Association (NSBA) President and Member of the Nanuet School Board, New York
June 5, 2014

NSBA President Anne Byrne provides thoughtful analysis on the role of school boards in supporting the implementation of college-and-career ready standards, including the Common Core. She also discusses related issues including the role of teacher evaluations, the need for patience, and the importance of equity as part of ensuring all students have the resources they need to be successful and meet higher standards.

Diane Siekmann, National Board Certified Teacher, Arizona
April 22, 2014

Diane Siekmann is working with the Master Teacher Project and NEA's Better Lesson as part of an effort to highlight and share the best teaching practices around the Common Core. She shares her thoughts on the standards, noting their strengths but also the need for a feedback loop over time. She also speaks to the need for support -  from parents, legislators, and all members of the broader education community - and adequate resources to help teachers in this work. 

Dr. Benny Gooden, 2012-2013 President of AASA, The School Superintendents Association and Superintendent of Fort Smith Public Schools, Arkansas
March 24, 2014

Dr. Gooden focuses on several aspects of the Common Core State Standards, from their formation, implementation and the need for transition time to lessen anxiety for educators, administrators and students. He also acknowleges that superintendents must effectively communicate the benefits of the standards and reasons behind implementation if they're going to gain wider support from the community. 

Otha Thornton, President, National PTA
February 24, 2014

National PTA President Otha Thornton explains why the PTA firmly supports the Common Core, highlighting the nuances their position. He outlines the important aspects of the standards that parents should know, and he addresses concerns around student data privacy. PTA has been active in developing resources for parents, and Mr. Thornton speaks encouragingly about the importance of parent engagement in all aspects of their child's education.

Joellen Killion, Senior Consultant, Learning Forward
January 28, 2014

Joellen Killion outlines the importance of integrating professional learning at the school level to build educators' skills and capacity as part of implementing new higher standards. She also outlines how professional learning systems can become part of a state's infrastructure and then embedded in the culture at the district and school level. Despite the challenges associated with Common Core implementation, Killion points to ways the community can be supportive during the transition and reminds us that any changes of this magnitude will take time. 

Linda McKee, Director of the Teacher Preparation Certification Program at Tulane University, Louisiana
October 16, 2013

Linda McKee and her colleagues discuss the importance of the Common Core and how educator preparation programs are responding to the standards, highlighting the need to model new classroom teaching for teacher candidates and prepare them to make lessons active, open-ended and rigorous. They also discuss how their program at Tulane has evolved and the challenges that educator preparation programs are facing in preparing for the Common Core.