VIVA Arizona Project – Arizona Charter Teachers’ Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice From the Classroom

On Wednesday, June 13, members of the VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative delivered their report, Arizona Charter Teachers Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice from the Classroom, to Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal and State Board President Jaime Molera.

Teachers are significant stakeholders in the implementation of Common Core Standards and should be key players in the process. These recommendations will foster the environment necessary to ensure successful implementation of Common Core Standards, promote the development of professional knowledge and expertise of teachers, and maintain high expectations and academic achievement on the part of Arizona’s students.

Download the full report as a PDF

Executive Summary

Forging ahead on the path to implementation of the Common Core State Standards gives Arizona a unique opportunity to provide a higher level of intellectual opportunity for all students, increase professional knowledge and regard for teachers, and ensure graduates of Arizona schools are college and career ready for life in the 21st century.

In 2010, Arizona chose to adopt the K-12 Common Core Standards to help ensure all students graduate from high school with the academic knowledge and skills they will need to find success in college, careers and life. During the 2011-2013 school years, teachers and administrators in Arizona are engaging in Professional Development to be prepared for the implementation. During the 2013-2014 school year, the Common Core Standards will be fully implemented. During the 2014-2015 school year, new assessments based on the Common Core State Standards will be used.

Teachers are significant stakeholders in the implementation of Common Core Standards and should be key players in the process. These recommendations will foster the environment necessary to ensure successful implementation of Common Core Standards, promote the development of professional knowledge and expertise of teachers, and maintain high expectations and academic achievement on the part of Arizona’s students.

Recommendations included in this report

Accessible, affordable, effective teacher training is the key to successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers will be on the front line of the battle to raise student achievement via the Common Core. But they can do that only if they feel confident in implementing the new instructional strategies. The way to make this massive undertaking affordable is for the state to create or offer access to webinars, training modules and model lessons online so teachers can access them at any point in the day or school year—whether they’re writing lessons plans at 11 p.m. or facing an instructional challenge in the middle of a school day.

Multiple training sessions on multiple tracks focused on Common Core in the classroom are required. A “train the trainer” model is the most cost-effective, efficient method of training large numbers of teachers across the state. Different training tracks must be developed to allow for specialization by subject as well as responsibility and offered in multiple sessions. And there must be some accountability to ensure that “no school is left behind.”

A new model of Professional Development and teacher collaboration is needed. Common Core Standards require a new approach to professional development, one that sees teachers as active, participatory learners creating new professional knowledge and collaborating to share their knowledge and resources across grade levels, subjects, schools and districts.

To ensure the implementation of the Common Core is affordable for all schools in the state, the Arizona Department of Education must take a leadership role in creating model curriculum maps and frameworks, and offering extensive resources via its own website. The new interdisciplinary approach to learning required to meet Common Core Standards call for new models of teaching and learning. The most cost effective way to provide those models and resources is via the ADE website, which needs an overhaul to be more user friendly for teachers and parents.

Higher education teaching programs must be aligned with new instructional demands for the Common Core State Standards. It’s been two years since Arizona agreed to adopt Common Core, but teachers coming out of college remain unprepared to teach to the new standards. There is an urgent need for colleges to develop curricula that demonstrate an understanding of the new approach to teaching and learning required by Common Core.

It’s imperative the state ease the transition from AIMS to PARCC standardized tests. Common Core Standards do not lend themselves to fill-in-the-bubble, multiple-choice, isolated assessments, so alternative assessments must be developed and designed with significant input from teachers and the transition must be managed carefully so schools and students are not penalized for poor performance.

Parents must be given plenty of advance warning about how the Common Core and the new assessments will affect teaching, learning and test scores. Parents are key stakeholders in this shift to the Common Core. If they see their children struggling with the new standards or test scores drop during the transition, it could easily short-circuit the implementation process.

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  1. [...] On Wednesday, June 13, members of the VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative delivered their report, Arizona Charter Teachers Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice from the …  [...]

  2. [...] On June 13, members of the VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative delivered their report, Arizona Charter Teachers Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice from the Classroom, to Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal and State Board President Jaime Molera. Teachers are significant stakeholders in the implementation of Common Core Standards and should be key players in the process. These recommendations will foster the environment necessary to ensure successful implementation of Common Core Standards, promote the development of professional knowledge and expertise of teachers, and maintain high expectations and academic achievement on the part of Arizona’s students.  [...]

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