Leading for Higher Academic Standards Toolkit

At CEL, one of our core beliefs is that with high-quality instruction and strong instructional leadership, every student, regardless of race, class, language or disability, can succeed. What supports high-quality instruction are higher academic standards because they create a roadmap for how students should be performing at each grade level. The recent shifts in standards call for an understanding of how to implement these standards at the state, district and school levels. There are many questions that come up when addressing these standards.

The toolkit CEL has created addresses a few critical questions about implementing higher academic standards in the form of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The toolkit is designed to help schools, districts and states answer the following questions:

  • Shifts: What exactly are the shifts? How do they impact classroom instruction and school leadership?

  • Instructional ELA Planning and Design: What literacy resources, supports and tools support clear understanding of the CCSS?

  • Instructional Math Planning and Design: What math resources, supports and tools support clear understanding of the CCSS?

  • College and Career Readiness: By the end of high school, what will students need to know and be able to do in order to excel in college and in careers?

  • Assessments: How are assessments changing based on the CCSS? What can school leaders do to prepare for these changes? How can districts support schools with comprehensive assessment?

  • Leadership: What knowledge and skills do district and school leaders need to implement the CCSS successfully? What roles should they play?

We reference a number of organizations that have created resources to support implementation of the CCSS. This is an extensive list, but by no means an exhaustive list of the many resources available to support educators. Some of the organizations include:

Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their generous partnership and support of this work. The partnership has allowed CEL to spearhead work with districts in the Gates Foundation’s integration sites in order to build the knowledge, skills and expertise that district and school leaders need to lead the implementation of the Common Core State Standards/Colorado Academic Standards.