Learning First Alliance

Strengthening public schools for every child

Get It Right Podcasts

As college- and career-ready standards come on line, teachers, administrators, parents and communities are working together to align them with curriculum, instruction and assessment.

The ultimate success of these standards demands that states and districts make the necessary adaptions to implementation as work progresses.

This implementation does not happen overnight. It requires time. Time to align the standards with teaching, curricular materials and professional learning opportunities. Time to get it right.

To help those committed to the standards ensure proper implementation, the Learning First Alliance is spotlighting those communities that are working hard to get Common Core implementation right. These podcasts tell their stories.

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Suzanne Mulcahy
Hawaii’s assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction and student support speaks to the state’s efforts to provide professional development and help schools make the transition to Common Core.

Sandy Boyd
Sandy Boyd, chief operating officer at Achieve, discusses the organization's research around the "honesty gap" – comparing state test results to NAEP scores. Achieve's analysis has revealed gaps in student proficiency levels.

Rhea-Claire Richard & Bailey Debardelen
Rhea-Claire Richard and Bailey Debardelen, fourth-grade teachers at S.J. Montgomery Elementary School in Lafayette Parish, LA, share how the Common Core has encouraged deeper learning in their classrooms. Both teachers began their careers about four years ago, when the state switched to the Common Core, and both appreciate the in-depth learning the standards have brought to their classrooms.

Barbara Haeffner
Barbara Haeffner, director of curriculum and instructional technology at Meriden Public Schools in Meriden, Connecticut, discusses how her district integrates technology into the classroom to prepare more students for higher-level learning.

Alan Tenreiro
Alan Tenreiro, principal of Cumberland High School in Cumberland, RI and recently named the 2016 Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, discusses Common Core and the multifaceted process of building a culture of high expectations that emphasizes college and career readiness for all students.

Western Washington Professors & District Administrator
Matthew Miller, professor at the Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University; Jessica Cohen, associate professor of mathematics education at Western Washington University; and Charisse Berner, Director of Teaching and Learning for the Bellingham Public Schools in Bellingham, Washington share how their professional development partnership has helped teachers effectively implement math curricula based on the Common Core State Standards and contributed to a learner-focused culture of continuous improvement.

Debbie Tidwell & Sue Grodek
Debbie Tidwell, past president of the Ohio PTA, and Sue Grodek, first grade teacher in the Brooklyn City School District in Brooklyn, Ohio, discuss the importance of parent communication and engagement in effective Common Core implementation.

Nate Jensen
Dr. Nate Jensen, a member of the research team at the Northwest Evaluation Association, discusses the value of assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the misconceptions that accompanied the implementation of new assessments in some states. Jensen explains how comparisons of student scores on the old and new assessments can distort the real picture of student learning under the Common Core State Standards.

Cleveland Teachers Union
Mark Baumgartner, Director of Professional Issues at the Cleveland Teachers Union; Deborah Paden, teacher on assignment for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Resident Educator Program and the AFT/CTU Innovation Fund; and Sara Baldassar, second grade teacher at Memorial Elementary School, Cleveland Metropolitan School District discuss how the Common Core State Standards promote more rigorous learning. The group worked together to develop teacher-created lesson plans that have been vetted by national experts and are now being used by teachers nationwide.

Aaron Thiell & Melissa Fraley
Aaron Thiell, principal of Latham Ridge Elementary School in Latham, New York, answers questions from Melissa Fraley, a parent and PTA member at the school, about how teachers and school leaders have worked together to implement the Common Core State Standards at Latham Ridge Elementary.

Audra McPhillips & Alicia Proulx
Alicia Proulx, a parent and teacher in West Warwick, Rhode Island, speaks with Audra McPhillips, a mathematics specialist and pre-K-12 instructional coach for the district. Together, they explore what the shift to Common Core-aligned math means for students and parents.

Dane Linn
Dane Linn, Vice President of Education and Workforce for the Business Roundtable, discusses the principles and objectives guiding the development of the Common Core and why the business community supports higher standards. During his 16 years at the National Governors Association, Linn co-led the development of the Common Core State Standards.

Summer Stephens
Dr. Summer Stephens, superintendent of Weston County School District #7 in Upton, WY, shares her perspective on implementing the Common Core in a small rural district and the role of thoughtful assessments in deeper learning.

Jayne Ellspermann
Jayne Ellspermann, principal of Westport High School in Ocala, FL, discusses how her school implements the Common Core and drives improvement through a focus on personalized learning and college readiness initiatives. Ellspermann was recently recognized as the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ 2015 National Principal of the Year.

Felicia Cumings Smith
In this interview, Felicia Cumings Smith reflects on the importance of coalition building and professional development in Kentucky’s systemic Common Core implementation process. Smith is former associate commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, and is currently the director of Kentucky Rising at the National Center on Education and the Economy.

David Adkisson
In this podcast, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce CEO David Adkisson discusses why Kentucky’s business community supports college- and career-ready standards and how they have partnered with schools and community organizations to support thoughtful implementation.

Ray Leone
Maryland PTA President Ray Leone shares his perspective on building parent understanding and support of the Common Core by engaging families and communities at the local level through public forums and open lines of communication.

Dorie Combs
Listen to Dr. Dorie Combs, professor in the School of Clinical Educator Preparation at Eastern Kentucky University, share her perspective on preparing future educators for understanding and teaching to the Common Core.

Dallas Dance
Dallas Dance, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, tells us how open communication with stakeholders and approaching the process as a "lead learner" can ease Common Core implementation.

Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson, principal of Dodgeland Elementary School in Juneau, WI and a NAESP National Distinguished Principal, shares her experience using technology to guide Common Core implementation.

Vicki Phillips
Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the importance of college- and career-ready standards and their thoughtful implementation.

Otha Thornton
In this episode, National PTA President Otha Thornton shares efforts undertaken at the local, state and national levels to ensure parents have an understanding of the Common Core— what it is, how it came about and how it will help children graduate college and career ready.

C.J. Huff
Dr. C.J. Huff, Superintendent of Missouri's Joplin Schools, shares the importance of leveraging existing partnerships and school staff to engage in conversations across the community to demystify the Common Core.

Tanya Golden
Tanya Golden, a sixth grade teacher at Carver Academy in California’s ABC Unified School District, tells us how her district has used Teacher Leaders to develop Common Core-aligned units of study and help school staff with the implementation process of these new units.

Richard Saldana
Richard Saldana, Social Studies Department Chair at Artesia High School in California’s ABC Unified School District, explains how the district has unified teachers, administrators, school board leaders and parents in support of college and career-ready standards.

Toledo Public Schools
Kevin Dalton, President of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, explains how TFT worked in partnership with Toledo Public Schools to develop curriculum alignment maps and teacher-led professional development to implement college and career ready standards. He is joined by Amy Whaley, a teacher at Beverly Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio. Ms. Whaley shares how the standards provide a framework that helps facilitate deeper learning among her students.

Linda Darling-Hammond
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor of Education at Stanford University, Faculty Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and Chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing discusses the benefits of college and career ready standards for improving conditions for both teacher and student learning. Darling-Hammond also speaks to the need for performance assessments that better measure student achievement and growth.

Michael Kirst
Dr. Michael Kirst, President of the California State Board of Education, focuses on the importance of implementation that has integrated all of California’s ongoing instructional efforts, as well as a renewed focus on postsecondary opportunities for children.

Eric Luedtke
Eric Luedtke, a middle school social studies teacher and an elected member of the Maryland House of Delegates, discusses the role of educators in the implementation process and the need to focus on student learning.

Terry Holliday
Dr. Terry Holliday, Kentucky Commissioner of Education, shares the power of engaging educators early and throughout the implementation process and the role Kentucky teachers played in unpacking the standards and building great new state assessments.

Dayna Richardson
Dayna Richardson, chair of the Kansas Learning First Alliance, talks about her organization’s role in communicating the need for new standards, deliberately taking implementation one step at a time and the value of multiple measures of success.

Terri Hodges
Dr. Terri Hodges, the president of the Delaware PTA, discusses the importance of proper planning, a collaborative process and the need for the separation of the standards and the tests to ensure progress. In Delaware, parents played a key role in implementation, a process that has taken more than three years.