July 11, 2012
Effective Practices of Rural Superintendents
ASCD and the Common Core State Standards
Effective Practices of Rural Superintendents
While implementation of the Common Core State Standards is happening across the nation, many educators have been keenly interested in lessons learned from other districts that are similar to their own. Smaller, rural districts have received little attention, but face the same issues as larger districts. While rural districts typically do not have the flexibility to have staff concentrate on one area of work, they need to be creative in implementing the standards effectively. A recent article by Diette Courrege for Edweek.org, “Priorities and Practices of Effective Rural Superintendents”, outlined a study that was conducted by researchers from Western Michigan University. This study outlined the effective practices of rural superintendents whose districts had increased student achievement. The study, published in the Journal of Research in Rural Education, outlined seven commonly cited practices of these superintendents:
- The superintendent establishes goals and expectations and drives reform in the district.
- Support for reform was built through direct, personal conversations.
- Intervention strategies are provided for struggling students and teachers.
- Low-performing teachers or principals are removed.
- The close working relationship with the building principal is leveraged.
- Superintendent takes a harder line in union contract negotiations.
- The district re-aligns financial commitments to match district priorities.
As school districts of all shapes and sizes move forward with implementation of the Common Core State Standards, many of the commonly cited practices described above will be useful.
Updates from Around the Nation
What’s In, What’s Out for Implementing the Common Core State Standards—ELA/Literacy
Many educators have struggled to quantify the instructional shifts required by the standards for English language arts/literacy. This handout regarding “What’s In, What’s Out” is good place to start the discussion. One word of advice is to not adopt a black-and-white approach to the shifts, but to truly understand the depth required to meet these higher expectations.
Big Districts to Leverage Buying Power
Many of the large districts across the nation are working with the Council of Great City Schools to push publishers to ensure that their materials are aligned with the publisher’s criteria written by Student Achievement Partners.
PARCC Wrestles with Definition for College Readiness
The Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) recently held a meeting to discuss their draft statement regarding college readiness. At the heart of the discussion was how to approach the concept of college readiness and how to effectively define and communicate this message.
ACT to Roll Out 3rd to 10th Grade Assessments
ACT, Inc. has announced that they will be releasing 3rd to 10th grade college- and career-ready assessments that will link with the ACT for grades 11 and 12 and be comparable to the PARCC and SBAC assessments. This development creates an interesting choice for states for next generation assessments.
South Carolina Joins SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)
South Carolina has decided to become a governing state for SBAC. With this decision, the state of South Carolina will now have voting power within the consortium and more of an influence on the test design. This leaves only Alabama, Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania as states still participating in both consortia.
Common Core State Standards Resources
ASCD's Common Core State Standards Institutes
ASCD is offering new professional development institutes to meet your Common Core State Standards implementation needs:
Two-Day Institutes for Leading the Change to Common Core State Standards: Essential Tools for School and District Leaders
For Superintendents, Principals, and Other School-Based Administrators
Implementing the Common Core State Standards demands fundamental shifts in how we prepare students to be college- and career-ready.The Common Core initiative calls for a significant lifting of learning expectations that focus on deeper understanding of content and higher levels of thinking and application.
Transitioning to the standards requires leadership that is well versed in the learning and teaching demands of the standards and how to effectively implement and monitor its implementation.
This professional development institute will directly address crucial questions being asked by school and district leaders and leadership teams who are responsible for bringing the standards to life:
Choose a Location to Register
Institutes will be held in the following locations:
ASCD's 2012 Fall Conference
This year's theme for the Fall Teaching and Learning Conference is Revolutionizing the Way We Lead and Learn, from October 26–28, 2012 in Atlanta, Ga., with pre-conference institutes on the October 25.
ASCD's Free "Get to the Core" Webinar Series Now Archived
Access the webinars on a myriad of topics related to the Common Core initiative that ASCD delivered this spring in our archive.
Regarding PARCC’s work to define the term "college readiness": How powerful to have higher ed. and K-12 sitting together on this…That is huge.
—Mr. Mitchell D. Chester,
Commissioner of Education for the state of Massachusetts
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ASCD's Common Core State Standards work is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.