CDE releases its plan for transition to common core

The California Department of Education's long-awaited plan on how to implement the new common core standards into classrooms has been released, and its focus is on professional development for teachers and providing supplemental instructional materials starting in 2014.

The plan, titled Common Core State Standards Systems Implementation Plan," also includes a template for districts and schools to follow as they prepare to begin teaching new curriculum in math and English language arts.

Following adoption of the common core standards by the California State Board of Education in 2010, state officials have struggled with how best to introduce and integrate the common core during a period of extreme fiscal restraint.

While monetary resources to implement common core are not specifically identified in the plan, it does call for a "detailed fiscal analysis" of the costs of implementation. That analysis, which will include professional development and instructional materials costs, is due this fall.

In the meantime, the CDE says it will continue working to identify state and federal funding sources to support implementation efforts.

Topping the plan's list of seven "guiding strategies" is the need to "facilitate high quality professional learning opportunities for educators to ensure that every student has access to teachers who are prepared to teach to the levels of rigor and depth" required by the common core standards.

Second on the list is developing and providing instructional materials aligned with the new standards.

CDE says it will work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to ensure educators and administrators have the tools and resources they need to successfully teach the new content.

This includes helping revise teacher preparation and credentialing programs, as well as identifying learning activities and resources that provide insight into the differences between the old and the new standards and instructional strategies for successfully teaching all types of student learners.

While adoption of new instructional materials in California remains suspended due to the budget crisis, CDE, according to the plan, is conducting a review of supplemental instructional materials "that will bridge the gap between SBE-adopted programs currently being used by LEAs and the new Common Core State Standards."

Once that review is complete, CDE will list on its website the common core-aligned materials designed to help schools transition to the new standards.

Each of the plan's seven guiding strategies is broken down across three timeframes - awareness, transition and implementation - with tasks and target dates aimed at full implementation by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

The State Board of Education will hear a staff update on the plan at its March 7 meeting.

To review the report in its entirety, click here: more