Instructional Leadership in Action

In the Field with Common Core State Standards

by Jennifer McDermott Oct 24, 2011

At first glance, some might say that the task of moving from one set of standards to another is a straightforward process. School districts buy new textbooks, and teachers write new lesson plans. Standards, after all, simply describe what is to be taught and learned. But CEL has found that the "how" of teaching to the new Common Core State Standards requires a shift of direction. With these new national standards, teachers and district leaders must reframe the instructional enterprise from one that says, “We teach that,” to one that says, “Our students know that, and can demonstrate their understanding independently.”

CEL has been in the field helping our partner school districts consider how to implement the Common Core State Standards. Across the states where CEL has been working, we’re finding that school leaders and teachers are confronting a common set of questions:

  • How do we manage alignment across grade-level strands?
  • How do we plan for a year of instruction?
  • How do we support students who are not meeting the standards?
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Leadership and the Common Core Standards

by UWCEL Oct 24, 2011

An Interview with Anneke Markholt

Dr. Anneke Markholt is an associate director of CEL. She designs and directs the Center's district partnerships focused on the development of instructional leadership. Markholt is co-author of "Leading for Instructional Improvement: How Successful Leaders Develop Teaching and Learning Expertise."

  1. All but five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. What do the standards mean for improving instruction in the U.S.?

I think it could range from nothing, to potentially huge implications. Simply having the standards will do little. But having standards where people can say, “This is the vision, this is our north star,” is critically important. Being clear about what it is that we want all students to know and be able to do — in this case we’re talking about English language arts and mathematics — is a starting point. Having said that, it’s another thing whether or not states and districts have the ability to support their teachers in teaching that allows students to meet the standards. There’s still the imperative of teaching in such a way that we support each and every one of our kids throughout the country, especially those kids who haven’t had the best opportunities for learning. And when you think about the level of commitment and support it would take to do that, the question really is, "Are we really willing to provide the support needed to develop the kind of instructional expertise that benefits all kids?"

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Reflections on National Developments in Education

by Stephen Fink May 22, 2010

As I reflect on important national developments in education over the course of this current school year I have conflicting pictures in my mind.  I see these important developments with a picture of hope on the one hand and worry on the other.  In this message I will tackle two particularly important developments.

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