Must-See Resources for Understanding/Implementing the Common Core State Standards

This morning I downloaded Understanding the Skills in the Common Core State Standards from,a recent publication which highlights the essential skills students will leave high school with IF they are presented a rigorous, quality, Common Core aligned curriculum. In the document, the authors write, “Simply put, the CCSS are designed to cover most of the skills in greatest demand by employers, postsecondary systems and our society, including the ability of students to communicate effectively in a variety of ways, work collectively, think critically, solve routine and nonroutine problems, and analyze information and data” (Achieve, 2012, p. 3).

If you’ve been to before, you know the high quality products they release. Achieve has been serving the standards-based education field since 1996, and their efforts contributed to the American Diploma Network Project, Common Core State Standards, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and Next Generation Science Standards. I’ve appreciated the relevance of their work and have used their products in my former work as a Race to the Top Network Team Senior Facilitator and now as a Branch Campus Dean for SUNY Plattsburgh.

Besides the Skills documentAchieve also just released Implementing  the Common Core State Standards guides for elementary and secondary school leaders. IF students are graduating with the essential skills embedded in the CCSS, it will most likely be due to quality instructional leadership by principals AND teacher leaders at the building level. Not surprisingly, the documents emphasize the urgency of effectively implementing the CCSS with particular focus on the Common Core Instructional Shifts for math and literacy. In addition, each document describes 11 schoolwide changes principals need to promote:

  1. Culture
  2. Literacy Instruction
  3. Text Complexity and Informational Text
  4. Close Reading and Text-Based Response
  5. Writing across Content Areas
  6. Mathematics Instruction
  7. Student Engagement and Collaboration
  8. Instructional Time
  9. Create-and-Learn versus Sit-and-Get
  10. Professional Learning
  11. Assessment

There are many, many quality resources out there to assist school administrators and educators in implementing school reform initiatives tied to the Common Core. However, if you are looking for resources that show the congruence of essential life skills with those of the Common Core, guides to implement the Common Core within school buildings, or other materials addressing major issues and challenges in standards-based education, then a visit to is a must.

Achieve (2012). Understanding the Skills in the Common Core State Standards.

Retrieved January 9, 2013 from



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