Bringing the Common Core State Standards to Life Through Site-Located Teacher Learning Structures

by Cathy Carroll; Frances Reade; Nanette Seago; Rebecca Perry

Apr 1, 2016

While all California school districts have invested deliberately in teacher professional learning opportunities with a common goal of improving Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSS-M) implementation, evidence from WestEd's work with the 10 Math in Common (MiC) school districts shows that districts' structures and strategies for implementing professional learning vary widely. Our data (gathered from interviews, grant reports, and other project documentation) point to some interesting and telling trends across the districts in relation to providing teachers with professional learning opportunities. First, we found that a majority of districts are making a shift toward the school site as the locus for teacher professional learning. Second, our data suggest a common shift toward professional learning that is more lesson-focused for teachers.

These shifts across the MiC community toward site located, lesson-focused professional development likely signal districts' learnings about what it takes to support teachers' understanding and implementation of the CCSS-M in the classroom. This report explores these shifts further through four case studies that detail the approaches that several districts are taking to locate teacher learning at the site, and to tie learning to the specifics of developing lessons for classroom instruction.