School principals have a critical role in setting and communicating a vision for their schools’ transition to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and leading the process of instructional improvement. According to a Webinar conducted this month by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), school principals are facing the task of coordinating the unpacking the standards and aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment with the CCSS. School leaders also must coordinate assessments with their district offices and communicate the importance of the change to the school community. These complex tasks require a broad set of leadership, communication, problem solving, and staff development skills.
Sensitive communication that is tailored to key stakeholders is especially important because it enables the school principal to address questions and collect feedback from teachers, parents, students, and district administrators. Communicating with staff members about their strengths and areas for growth can contribute to the implementation of CCSS. Regular communication also is important as principals encourage staff to collaborate, reflect on practice, and identify professional development needs for effective instruction.
The National High School Center has developed the Eight Elements of High School Improvement Framework, which can be used as a resource to reflect on communications and capacity building for the implementation of the CCSS. See, for example, recommended actions to leverage the interests, skills, and resources of school and community stakeholders for—and to create a sense of ownership of—high school improvement.
The NASSP Webinar, Ten Skills and More for the Common Core, was conducted by Dick Flanary, Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Services, and Pete Reed, NASSP Professional Development.
Guest Author: Dr. Yael Kidron is the Research Team Leader for the National High School Center and a Senior Research Analyst at the American Institutes for Research (AIR).