On April 18-20, twenty-seven state education agency teams involved in CCSSO's Implementing the Common Core Standards (ICCS) project met in Atlanta, Georgia, to share ideas and refine plans to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) .
The meeting opened with Sarah Brown Wessling, the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and a current National Board Certified English teacher in Johnston, Iowa, sharing her personal experience with the CCSS and how they have changed her classroom instruction. Participants were transported to her classroom through a video demonstrating what instruction looks like when grounded in the Common Core Standards. This video, now available on the Teaching Channel, shows students actively engaged in discussing a variety of complex literary texts.
Wessling's presentation received an extended standing ovation with good reason. She eloquently and elegantly illuminated for the audience the reality of Common Core-that the successful transformation of classrooms will require new learning and support for educators and principals well beyond what currently exists in most districts and states. In order for this to happen, states and districts need to commit to transforming professional learning, providing intentional time and space to collaborate as professionals, and improving access to high quality instructional resources.
Gene Wilhoit, CCSSO's Executive Director, echoed Wessling's message the next morning calling for a sea change in how state agencies prepare and support educators. Wilhoit asked states to work with their teacher and leader preparation programs, and with their systems for licensing educators, to fundamentally transform how teachers and leaders are prepared and supported throughout their careers. Catherine Gewertz later highlighted this presentation in her Curriculum Matters blog on EdWeek.com.
Throughout the meeting, states worked in teams consisting of leaders from within the state education agency and partners from local higher education institutions and districts to respond to Wessling and Wilhoit's calls to reconsider the role the state can play in preparing and supporting teachers. State teams worked together to share innovative practices for communicating the CCSS, refining ideas and strategies for professional learning, and developing clear metrics for evaluating successful implementation.
After the meeting, states plan to continue the work within and across state lines through a shared online community, participate in a series of webinars on the CCSS, and follow CCSSO's Implementing the Common Common Core newsletter. Anyone is welcome to subscribe to CCSSO's bi-weekly ICCS newsletter by signing up online. We especially invite members of the SCEE consortium to collaborate with the ICCS team to ensure alignment with educator effectiveness initiatives.