principals-school-common core

School principals beg for help with Common Core

Long term doesn’t look good

For principals, knowing what the Common Core asks of teachers and students is fairly straight-forward, and many have received extensive PD on the beginning steps of implementation (e.g. curriculum and instructional changes, state law, and implementation timelines); however, there’s more to CCSS than memorizing the Standards’ expectations.

For example, principals described needing “more adequate preparation and professional development in specific leadership areas,” such as how to:

  • Manage the change process in the schools
  • Evaluate teachers’ use of the new standards during instruction
  • Align the schools’ instructional focus
  • Make key decisions on the best types of PD to support teachers
  • Develop extended learning opportunities

“[The] survey indicate[s] principals are carrying out a delicate balancing act when initiating integration of the new standards,” say the report’s authors, Matt Clifford from the American Institutes for Research, and Christine Mason from the Center for Educational Improvement at the NAESP Foundation. “They are attempting to initiate change—which they enthusiastically support—without full knowledge of the costs, strategies or monitoring approaches because few have [PD] on leadership processes.”

According to the survey, principals say they are extremely “under-prepared” to support individual change for CCSS and integrating CCSS practices into the organization.

Because of this lack of preparation, less than 50 percent of the respondents reported that they had upgraded curriculum materials or technology to support long-term Common Core implementation.

And more than 70 percent had not taken action to integrate the Common Core into expanded learning opportunities, special education programs, or English-Language Learner (ELL) programs, which provide important services to students.

Another major implementation setback? The ever-dwindling budget.

“A majority of principals surveyed said that they need sufficient allocation of financial resources to implement the array of school-based activities related to CCSS, or for their schools and teachers,” noted the report; but, as all schools know, the Common Core mandate “does not include sufficient funding for implementation at the building level.”

(Next page: Where to go from here)

Meris Stansbury

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