Collaborating for Common Core in Hartford Public Schools

Spotlight on Excellence     April, 2013

Collaborating for Common Core in Hartford Public Schools

 

“We’re all in this together”… thus singeth the cast of High School Musical and sayeth those collaborating to coordinate the steps the district will take to implement the Common Core. Dr. Collins Ayanlaja, Chief Academic Officer, launched the district Common Core Planning Team (CCPT) in January. This team has been meeting monthly to share information that deepens team members’ understanding of Common Core so they can serve as resources to their departments.  The CCPT, composed of administrators from the Offices of Academics, Pre K-12 Education, Talent Management, Early Literacy and Parent Engagement, and Institutional Advancement, along with principals and teachers, sustains a forum for idea exchange, capacity building, and strategic planning focused on the Common Core State Standards and SBAC assessment.  The CCPT discusses what internal staff, teachers and principals, needs to activate the shift to Common Core instruction, and what external stakeholders, parents and community organizations, need to support Common Core learning and assessment.
 
The group is in the process of developing goals and action steps to embed Common Core State Standards in district wide initiatives that address student learning.  The CCSS Phases Implementation Chart, developed in February 2013 by the Office of Academics, identifies five key implementation components that embody CCSS:  Information and Access, Alignment of Curriculum and Instructional Materials, Professional Development and Teacher Evaluation, Technology, Assessment, and Accountability, and Transition to College. This chart summarizes stages of change that guide Hartford Public School’s shift to full integration of the Common Core from the onset of Connecticut’s adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010 to 2015 when the instrument developed by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will measure student proficiency.  The team is expanding the HPS-CCSS Implementation Plan by developing a cross departmental work plan with a summary, along with specific action steps, responsible parties, and completion deadlines.  Members exhibit a work ethic that embraces collective responsibility and mutual support.   
 
In addition to the formation of the CCPT, Hartford Public Schools has accepted the opportunity offered by the state to become part of the larger community of Connecticut school districts that are receiving information to support CCSS implementation.  The HPS Office of Academics submitted the Memorandum of Collaboration to the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) which confirms the district’s commitment to work in partnership with CSDE to implement the standards in Hartford Public Schools. As a component of this collaboration, the district established the Common Core District Team (CCDT).  Many of the members of the CCPT are part of the CCDT. This team is comprised of district administrators, principals, teachers, parent advocates, and parents.  Dr. Collins Ayanlaja has included Michelle Puhlick, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Leslyee Frederick, Executive Director of Assessment and Intervention, and Dr. George Michna, Director of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation as lead contacts.
Curriculum Directors and Teachers-in-Residence are designated Common Core District Coaches who will participate in state led professional development and serve as resources to our schools.   The CCDT will engage in CCSS Professional Learning Communities, implement a 2013 CCSS aligned practice assessment, confer with other districts to exchange information, and provide feedback to the CDSE on how the Department can support the ongoing work of Hartford Public Schools.
Through the shared dialogue and collaborative planning guided by the CCPT and CCDT, Common Core synergy is growing as diverse stakeholders are developing their capacity to understand what Common Core teaching, learning, and assessment look like on paper and in purpose. In Hartford Public Schools the implementation of Common Core State Standards is important business that is everybody’s business.           

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