Helmsley Charitable Trust Makes $3 Million Grant to Align Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching to the Common Core State Standards

New York City – As teachers across the country begin implementing new math and literacy standards in the public schools along with new teacher evaluation systems, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announced a $3 million investment to establish a rigorous research project to learn from educators in four school districts.

The project, Teaching the Core, will fund the work of the Danielson Group to further align the Framework for Teaching (FfT) with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the new math and literacy standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. The Framework for Teaching, created by Charlotte Danielson, is a comprehensive and coherent framework that identifies those aspects of a teacher’s responsibilities that have been shown to improve student learning. It is a teacher observation and evaluation instrument that is used across the country with 2 million teachers, and will be modified, as needed, to fully incorporate the instructional implications of the CCSS.

The participating districts are located in Connecticut, Illinois, New York and Nevada.

“This grant could not have been made at a more propitious time,” noted Charlotte Danielson. “Educators across the country are grappling with the challenge of implementing new teacher evaluation systems while simultaneously being called on to adapt their instructional models to address the rigorous requirements of the Common Core. Through this partnership, my instrument can continue to evolve to ensure that classroom teachers receive the most precise feedback possible to successfully support their teaching to the Common Core. This grant will enable us to be certain that distinguished teaching as defined by my Framework promotes student success with the Common Core.”

The project will include a field study of the FfT and the CCSS Instructional Practice Guides, a new set of tools developed by Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit organization founded by three of the contributing authors of the Common Core State Standards, to support teachers in making the instructional shifts called for by the CCSS.

The field study will take place beginning in the fall of 2013 in select schools in four pilot sites chosen for their deep commitment to the successful implementation of the FfT and the CCSS: Bethel, Connecticut; Indian Prairie, Illinois; New York, New York, and Washoe County, Nevada. K–12 administrators, coaches and teachers at each site will provide feedback and insights to researchers about the FfT and the implementation of the CCSS in their classrooms. The research findings from this study will be analyzed by classroom practitioners, statisticians and CCSS experts; these experts will work with Charlotte Danielson to refine the FfT to more fully call out the instructional shifts required by the CCSS.

“We are deeply dedicated to improving teacher practice and preparing students for college and careers, and we know we can make even greater progress through deeper exploration of the synergies between two powerful levers: the Common Core State Standards and Danielson’s Framework for Teaching,” said New York City Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-

Suransky. “Using the Framework to better leverage the Common Core is the next step in the work we have been leading, and we are very much looking forward to contributing to this collaboration.”

“The Helmsley Trust is deeply committed to supporting educators and is proud to facilitate this collaboration to meaningfully integrate two of the most important initiatives in public education today –rigorous college and career ready standards and new approaches to developing teacher practice,” said Rich McKeon, Program Director of Education for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “The Danielson Group and Student Achievement Partners have earned stellar reputations for supporting excellent instruction, and Helmsley is grateful to the educators and leadership of New York City, Washoe County, Indian Prairie and Bethel Public Schools for helping to lead the charge in this effort.”

“The Common Core State Standards require significant shifts in practice on the part of teachers. Teachers need and deserve tools that will support them in being successful—and chief among those are well-wrought observation systems,” said Susan Pimentel, Founding Partner of Student Achievement Partners. “We’re delighted to be working with the Danielson Group and proud to partner with the outstanding school districts that have stepped forward for the pilot to ensure that teachers get the support they need.”

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grant-making, it has committed over $900 million to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust’s Education Program seeks to improve American competitiveness and individual social mobility by helping public school students nationwide prepare for and succeed in college and an increasingly global job market. The Trust’s strategy is two-fold, supporting programs and initiatives that: 1) promote rigorous, college-ready academic standards in the K-12 system, and assist teachers to effectively meet these higher standards; and 2) increase the number of college students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, and policies that promote college completion more broadly. Helmsley prefers to support organizations serving networks of states, multi-state associations, and the development of replicable models to maximize leverage and impact. For more information, please visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

The Danielson Group seeks to advance the understanding and application of Charlotte Danielson’s concepts in the educational community, connect them to other areas of knowledge, and enhance professional practices of educators so as to positively impact student learning. The Group consists of consultants of the highest caliber, talent, and experience in educational practice, leadership, and research. Based in Princeton, New Jersey, the Danielson Group provides a wide array of professional development and consulting services to clients across the United States and abroad. The Framework for Teaching is a research-based set of components of instruction, grounded in a constructivist view of learning and teaching. The Framework may be used as the foundation of a school or district’s mentoring, coaching, professional development, and teacher evaluation process, thus linking all those activities together and helping teachers become more thoughtful practitioners.

Student Achievement Partners is a non-profit organization that assembles educators and researchers to design strategies based on evidence that will substantially improve student achievement. Student Achievement Partners was founded by David Coleman, Susan Pimentel and Jason Zimba, lead writers of the Common Core State Standards, and views the changes brought by the college and career readiness focus of the Common Core State Standards as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for kids of all backgrounds and ability levels to better fulfill their potential. Student Achievement Partners works closely with teachers on all the tools it develops, and the organization supports teachers by making all resources available on www.achievethecore.org for anyone to use, modify or share. For more information on Student Achievement Partners and free Common Core-aligned tools for educators, please visit: www.achievethecore.org.

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