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How secondary school principals can master the Common Core

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor
April 15th, 2012

School leaders will have to ensure teachers have the necessary knowledge to put Common Core standards into practice.

As states move toward implementing the Common Core State Standards, school principals must ensure they are fully equipped to help classroom teachers incorporate the standards as effectively as possible.

Forty-six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted the Common Core standards, and 90 percent of U.S. students are covered by the standards, said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), during an AEE webinar that examined how principals can ensure that students will be ready to master the new college- and career-ready standards and can demonstrate this mastery on the new 2014 state assessments.

While states are in various stages of implementing the standards, “principals play a critical role in this work,” Wise said.

“Leading secondary school principals and experts see the Common Core implementation as an opportunity” for schools to put into motion changes that have proven effective in transforming teaching and learning, Wise said.

Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holiday recently observed that the state’s educators face a challenge in identifying high-quality, engaging instructional resources that support and reinforce the new Common Core State Standards—something that is true for all states, said Tracey Lamb, principal of Fulton County High School in Hickman, Ky. Kentucky was the first state to adopt the common standards.

The state has been working on aligning its instruction to the Common Core State Standards since June 2010, and all schools in the state participate in high school and college readiness tests in grades 8, 10, and 11. Some efforts include revising curriculum maps and pacing guides, and making samples of instructional units available to help teachers.

Lamb said there are a handful of key ways a principal can lead his or her school’s change efforts when it comes to implementing the Common Core standards: