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Common Core Implementation Part of Principals' Evolving Role

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This following guest post was written by Dr. Jared Bigham, the Director of College & Career Readiness with Tennessee SCORE, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education. He is a former elementary and high school principal in Tennessee. For more information on his work, you can follow him on Twitter at: @JaredBigham.

One of the most critical positions in education today is that of the principal. This has always been an important role. However, with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, new state and federal accountability laws, and other policy changes in recent years, the job has evolved to encompass much more than what has historically been deemed a good building leader.

For decades, principals were viewed more as building managers. They were expected to keep the lights on, maintain discipline, keep everything on schedule, and complete teacher evaluations that were basically check-off compliance sheets. I am not trying to belittle that role, actually quite the opposite. These are herculean tasks when done well in any size school. My father was a principal for more than 20 years, so I grew up in a house watching him devote his life to making sure all those things were done and done well.

Now, with the adoption of new college- and career-ready standards across the country, being an expert in instructional practices is a given for today's principal. This also means being an expert in meaningful teacher evaluations that are subjective to a good understanding of pedagogy. Along with this also comes the importance of understanding authentic assessments and interpretation of student data. This is in addition to all the aforementioned building manager responsibilities. So how does a school district identify and hire these super educators that can implement Common Core well and keep the logistics of the building running smoothly?

K-12 Talent Managers can play an important role in supporting principals with the implementation of the Common Core. Check out Human Resources' Role in the Successful Implementation of the Common Core State Standards which provides strategies for district HR professionals to be more involved in the transition to the new standards.

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