In 2014, the Learning First Alliance (LFA) launched Get it Right: Common Sense on Common Core, a national initiative highlighting best practices in Common Core implementation. One aspect of this multi-pronged effort uses new media to engage educators, school leaders, administrators, parents, and other stakeholders - including the general public - in an ongoing conversation about what it takes to get Common Core implementation right.
As part of this online engagement strategy, LFA is hosting a series of virtual convenings that focus on different aspects of Common Core implementation. A summary of each event, along with a link to the archive, can be found below.
School districts are spending a lot of money and time to determine whether curricular resources are actually aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or other college- and career-ready standards (CCRS). EdReports.org, an independent nonprofit, is working with educators across the country to provide a new database for districts to find materials that have been reviewed and meet the criteria for alignment. This webinar explained its process, exploring the complexity of determining whether an instructional material is actually aligned to CCRS and would be useful in classrooms.
Learning Forward Deputy Executive Director Frederick Brown and Nikki Mouton of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GA) discuss how district officials can lead the development of professional learning systems that ultimately impact student success.
View the archive here.
Niki Newman-Brown of Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD) and Learning Forward Deputy Executive Director Frederick Brown discuss successful strategies for leading adult learning among school staff to increase college and career readiness for students, with Ms. Newman-Brown highlighting how she achieved promising results through promoting professional learning for teachers grounded in data and aligned to rigorous student goals.
View the archive here.
On May 5, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) released "Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices," a comprehensive teacher survey report, which looked at teachers’ views on their profession, testing, standards, evaluation and more. On May 10, LFA hosted a webinar with CEP Executive Director Maria Ferguson and Deputy Director Diane Stark Rentner for a discussion of the findings.
View the archive here.
Common Core and Early Learning Communities: Collaborative Approaches to Standards Alignment & Developmentally Appropriate Practice - Dec. 1, 2015
How can principals and early childhood educators collaborate effectively to balance alignment with college and career ready standards and developmentally appropriate practice? To what extent have states aligned early learning standards with the Common Core State Standards and how successful have these efforts been? The Learning First Alliance (LFA), National Alliance for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) hosted a webinar exploring how Common Core is impacting our youngest learners.
There is much to consider in looking at the spring 2015 CCSS-aligned assessment results, including how we communicate about those results and how they can be used to improve practice. ASCD CEO and Executive Director Deb Delisle moderated a lively panel conversation with district, state and data leaders and a Q&A session with attendees.
*Aimee Guidera, CEO of the Data Quality Campaign
*Dallas Dance, Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
*Michael Kirst, President, California State Board of Education
Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrilli and Learning First Alliance’s Richard Long discussed the recent past and near future of college- and career-ready standards, considering the state of Common Core, progress and continuing gaps in student outcomes across the country, assessments and the impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on the playing field for college and career readiness.
View the archive here.
How do you teach college- and career-ready standards to students who are still learning English?
Larry Ferlazzo, a high school teacher, blogger and author of numerous books on topics for teachers, joined LFA Executive Director Richard Long on social media site Blab to give a firsthand look at how the move to higher standards is actually playing out in classrooms in his Sacramento, Calif., high school.
Twitter Town Halls
LFA aimed to continue the conversation on how Common Core-aligned assessment data can be communicated to important stakeholders, leveraged to improve student learning, and used to move the needle toward college and career readiness for all students. Participants shared resources and stories of their experiences, and the following themes emerged from the conversation:
- Context is critical in communicating Common Core-aligned assessment data to teachers, parents and students - assessment reports must be more than just a score.
- There are a host of great resources for teachers, parents and students around Common Core assessment data, but unfortunately these resources don’t always make it into the hands of those who need them most.
- A host of organizations are creating resources and tools to help teachers, parents, and students interpret and use Common-Core data.
To highlight how educators and parents can best collaborate to help students meet the higher standards of the Common Core and provide a forum for parents to share their thoughts on the standards, the Learning First Alliance teamed up with the National PTA to host #CCSSParents, a Twitter Town Hall on Parents and the Common Core. Key themes emerging from the conversation included:
- Parents are primarily learning about the Common Core through media coverage, school/PTA communications and one-on-one conversations.
- A primary area of concern among parents is new assessments.
- To combat miscommunication about the standards, schools should actively communicate the difference between CCSS and high-stakes testing and should showcase examples of student work demonstrating higher-level thinking.
#CCSSbiz: Common Core and the Business Community - January 29, 2015
To gain insight into the role businesses can play in supporting Common Core, the Learning First Alliance teamed up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to host #CCSSbiz, a Twitter Town Hall on Common Core and the business community. Key themes emerging from the conversation included:
- The critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills included in the Common Core better equip students for success in college and careers, which in turn will positively impact the nation’s economy.
- There are places where education and business organizations are already collaborating both on raising awareness of the standards through community events such as roundtables and dialogues and on the transformation of teaching and learning through things like service learning partnerships.
- To combat the myths and misinformation behind Common Core, businesses and education organizations need to work together by sharing facts about the standards and success stories resulting from implementation.
#CCSStech: Ed Tech in a Common Core World - November 19, 2014
To gain insight as to how technology is supporting implementation of the Common Core, the Learning First Alliance teamed up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to host #CCSStech. Overall, participants (including teachers, technology directors and representatives of national organizations, among others) indicated that:
- Technology is providing opportunities for deeper learning that is aligned with CCSS through tools like video conferencing and apps.
- Teachers need a safe space to take risks with ed tech and test these new tools in their classrooms for successful implementation.
- The integration of technology into the classroom also demands lessons on digital citizenship, privacy and safe Internet use.
- Challenges include troubleshooting tech issues, ensuring equitable access and helping teachers feel comfortable putting more learning in the hands of students.
#CCSSteach: Teaching in a Common Core World - October 2, 2014
This event provided a forum for those teachers impacted by CCSS to share how they are acclimating to using the standards. In particular, we looked to teachers to discover how they are integrating these standards in their practice and how students are being impacted by these standards in the classroom. Overall, participants (including teachers, principals, district leaders and representatives of national organizations) indicated that:
- Common Core is creating deeper content understanding among students.
- All teachers, regardless of subject, are focusing on teaching fundamental skills such as reading.
- There is a need for more professional development, particularly for more teacher-led PD.
- There is a misunderstanding in communities on what the standards are, particularly among parents.
#CCSStime: Let's Get It Right - July 24, 2014
In the wake of policy changes allowing more time to implement the Common Core State Standards before tying high-stakes testing decisions to them, this event provided a space for education stakeholders to discuss how states, districts and schools can use extra time to get implementation right. Key themes emerging from this conversation include the need to use this time to:
- Build educator capacity and skills through effective supports and professional learning opportunities.
- Break down the standards, develop aligned curriculum and adjust instruction to meet different expectations.
- Provide teachers with the opportunities to collaborate and share best practices.
- Engage parents and community members in a dialogue that highlights the background and original vision of the standards, discusses challenges and dispels common myths.