I've been hearing from some district officials that classroom teachers are the best ambassadors for building better understanding and buy-in for the Common Core State Standards in their schools. Tennessee seems to be taking that idea to heart, as the state department of education announced this week that more than 700 teachers are being enlisted to "help their peers navigate the transition" to the new standards.
Those 704 teachers were selected through what the state department called a "rigorous application process" to serve as coaches, the press release says. And come this summer, they will help lead five weeks of summer training on the new standards that will reach an estimated 30,000 Tennessee teachers.
"We believe the transition to Common Core will be most effective if our own teachers lead the way," said Emily Barton, the assistant commissioner for curriculum and instruction at the state agency, in the press release.
Tennessee schools began implementing the standards last year, the state agency said. Last summer, Tennessee recruited 200 teachers to serve as coaches for summer professional-development workshops focused specifically on grades 3-8 math instruction. About 150 of those were asked back as part of the new set of teacher-coaches.
It's worth noting that Tennessee is also part of the PARCC testing consortium, which has helped each participating state develop and expand a set of "educators who understand, support, and feel ownership of the successful implementation" of both the standards and the forthcoming PARCC assessments. These Educator Leader Cadres, teams of K-16 educators, are intended to become experts in the standards and assessments and serve as leaders in their states and among their peers.
Something tells me we'll start hearing about a lot more planned summer PD pegged to the common core in coming weeks and months.