MANAGING THE TRANSITION TO THE COMMON CORE

Student assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards will be implemented in the 2014-15 school year.  In preparation for these tests, districts face a number of challenges including delivering professional development to teachers; purchasing new textbooks; and providing additional support to students who need them. Estimates of the cost to implement the Common Core range from approximately $109 to $396 per pupil.[1]  Furthermore, districts need to be simultaneously preparing students to meet existing state standards and be successful on current assessments.  To manage the transition to the Common Core effectively, districts should consider the following questions:

  • How can our district use existing funds differently to support students, teachers, and administrators in meeting the new standards?
  • What new products, systems, and policies does our district need to manage the transition to the Common Core? And how can our district critique the many available resources (e.g., textbooks, curricula, assessment samples, software and professional learning) to ensure alignment with our vision?
  • How does our district align our work in other areas (e.g., school turnaround, Race to the Top, teacher evaluation) with the transition to the Common Core?
  • What do our district’s teachers and principals need to know and be able to do in order to ensure success on the Common Core for all students?
  • How can our district provide this support to teachers and principals while ensuring that our students are successful on current assessments?
  • How can our district ensure success of our most vulnerable students, including those with disabilities and English language learners?

Cross & Joftus can help answer these questions and support effective implementation and change management.  Since 2004, Cross & Joftus has supported states, districts, and schools across the United States as they utilize data to align professional development with instructional needs; execute research-based tiered supports; comply with federal regulations; and prioritize and employ resources and practices to attain maximum impact on student achievement.

For our Common Core clients, we help districts develop a comprehensive plan for aligning the Common Core Standards with four key components:

  • Student work tasks and assessments
  • Curriculum and materials
  • Professional development needs of teachers
  • Supporting structures such as teacher evaluation and data systems

This plan keeps district implementation costs low by leveraging existing resources, making strategic purchases, and collaborating with peers.  We encourage district networking and, when possible, establish regional consortia to share best practices, challenges, and even people.  We have developed a clearinghouse that includes critical tools and strategies to support implementation and eliminate the need to “reinvent the wheel.”  Finally, we regularly monitor progress to ensure all activities are essential and moving the district toward its Common Core goals.

Cross & Joftus has put together a team of experienced and thoughtful consultants prepared to tailor services to meet your needs.  These individuals are experts in the areas of curriculum, assessment, standards, professional development, and perhaps most importantly, the change process.  They have done the work you are doing, overcome the obstacles you are facing, and attained the student achievement success you are pursuing.

Our approach to the Common Core and the supports we can provide are outlined in the attached PowerPoint presentation.

For more information, please contact:


[1] Murphy, P. and E. Regenstein (May 2012). Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core: How Much Will Smart Implementation Cost? Thomas Fordham Institute.