The Intersection

Multi-State Collaborative Tackles Common Core Implementation

September 12, 2012


Looking for a clear example of how the Common Core State Standards is providing an opportunity for states to collaborate and share information?  Look no further than the Implementing the Common Core Standards Collaborative (ICCS) – a two-year effort by 30 states to share and compare strategies and practices in their efforts to implement new state standards deeply and with fidelity.

The ICCS is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and supported by CCSSO and states. Each state ICCS team is comprised of agency leadership and content experts, along with representatives from higher education, teacher organizations, district staff, and other stakeholders. The ICCS also utilizes four coaches to manage connections between a smaller set of states and customizes supports for state departments on a constant and ongoing basis. State groups meet quarterly to focus their energy on topical issues and on the processes of change required to ensure deep and broad implementation of their new standards.

At the heart of the ICCS effort is a recognition that the new standards, for the first time, allow states to benefit from sound, proven work already being done across the nation.  Each state, although distinct and unique, now shares a common foundation for learning for its schoolchildren.

The ICCS recently held one of its conferences in Seattle, Washington.Two days of intense work within state teams and between states tackled major subjects such as:

  • Implementing the policy changes needed to support embedded teacher professional learning;
  • Ensuring the quality of instructional materials and instructional support;
  • Defining the role of states in selecting and recommending their curriculum;
  • Building capacity to support literacy and numeracy with English language learners (ELLs) and special education students;
  • Connecting Career and Technical Education standards to Common Core implementation;
  • Engaging and empowering myriad stakeholders in the implementation process; and
  • Working within existing state resources to leverage change in state departments and in school districts.

Embedded within the conference was time for states to work alone, as well as across groups of states, on specific tasks. When meeting in state teams, participants were able to dive into specific issues that they may not have time to address when faced with the daily demands of managing state departments. In meetings of cross-state teams, members were able to address shared challenges and collectively find solutions that could meet their specific needs. This work was then shared with the larger group of states to help inform ongoing efforts to effectively implement their new standards.

The ICCS is a terrific example not only of states working collaboratively, but also of the economies of scale that are possible with consistent, shared standards.

More information on this collaboration can be found here.

Gavin Payne serves as a coach for the ICCS and also serves as a senior advisor to the James B. Hunt Institute. Previously, Mr. Payne served more than seven years as California’s chief deputy state superintendent of public instruction.

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