Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center

Common Core Series

Great Lakes East Takes a National Look at Common Core

June 2010 marked a historic event in education in the United States. The national standards movement finally has culminated in the release of the Common Core State Standards by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The development of these standards has been debated, discussed, and scrutinized in many education circles and forums during the last year. Now, a set of new standards for mathematics and English language arts is finally available for every classroom in the country.

Approximately 30 states across the country began the process of adopting the standards in their entirety, with the option to add another 15 percent. The Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center has been supporting states, helping them think about how to localize the Common Core State Standards. In May 2010, state teams and representatives from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio were among 250 participants attending a two-day institute.

The institute began with a panel presentation and discussion featuring Chris Minnich, director of standards, assessment, and accountability at CCSSO, as well as two of the key leads in writing the mathematics and English language arts (ELA) standards: David Coleman, founder of Student Achievement Partners, LLC, and Jason Zimba, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and physics at Bennington College. Minnich explained why having a common set of standards was so important and how they were developed though CCSSO. Coleman and Dr. Zimba walked the participants though the draft standards and answered questions. One participant said, “The panel presentation was excellent. It really gave the background as to why the change is needed.” The participants also had the chance to work in facilitated groups using a newly developed planning tool through Learning Point Associates and CCSSO—“Blueprint for Implementation.” The tool allowed participants to look at their current and desired standards work and their plans for implementation.

On the second day of the institute, participants attended an interactive presentation by Margaret Heritage, Ph.D., assistant director for Professional Development at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST). In her session, “Making Use of Assessment Information: Challenges and Prospects,” Heritage engaged participants in thought-provoking discussions. The room was abuzz during the open discussions she led on topics such as “In your current role, what do you actually use assessments for?” and “What do you think future assessments should be like?” One participant noted that the session “was extremely helpful and the resources [Heritage] provided as well as the discussion that have me looking at assessments in a different way were very timely.”

Overall, the institute was a great success and provided participants a chance to learn more about the Common Core State Standards as well as different tools, practices, and resources to support the local implementation of the core standards. 

National Meeting Resources

Great Lakes Region Collaborates for Implementation of the Common Core State Standards

On January 24–25, 2011, Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center, and Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest held a regional meeting titled “Building a Collaborative Work Plan for Implementation of the Common Core State Standards,” in Rosemont, Illinois. The two-day meeting convened state education agency (SEA) teams from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin who are responsible for implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in their states. Prior to the meeting, the centers administered an SEA needs assessment survey to ensure that each state had a voice in planning the structure and content of the meeting and to ensure that the challenges of each state would be discussed.

The goal of the meeting was to assist states in forming multistate teams to create plans for developing resources, strategies, and tools for implementation of the CCSS. Each selected a primary contact person to be on an SEA planning team to ensure continuous communication and feedback during development of the agenda.  All five SEAs identified a group of their staff members to attend the meeting, and each selected a primary contact person to be on an SEA planning team to ensure continuous communication, feedback, and action planning.

During the two days, the teams engaged in activities designed to build a common understanding and a collaborative environment among states regarding standards implementation. They brainstormed implementation plans and shared resources for the common core adoption and rollout in each state. They also identified specific successes and challenges that impact implementation and shared their commitment to communicate the work to the assessment consortia. This meeting created a community of practice, within the Midwest region, so that resources and ideas can be shared about the Common Core State Standards and implementation activities. Several cross-state teams were formed as a result of the meeting, which will continue regular conversations, facilitated by Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West staff, and design tools to meet states’ implementation needs.

Regional Meeting Resources

Photo of teacher with student.

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