Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) Superintendent Jonathan Raymond delivered a keynote speech at a recent symposium on district-level implementation and assessment of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Raymond discussed SCUSD’s path to implement the CCSS, which has included building consensus, supporting professional learning, and developing support infrastructure. He also shared lessons learned over the course of implementation, such as recognizing the importance of shifting from teacher-centered to learner-centered instruction and the key role played by school and district leadership. In particular, SCUSD chose not to begin implementation with a gap analysis between their past practice and the CCSS but rather to redesign the entire system, leading to valuable learning and the ability to address educators’ conceptual understandings and expectations around rigor. In short, Raymond described the district’s approach to implementing the CCSS as “going slow to go fast”.
The symposium, Moving Forward: Common Core State Standards Implementation and Assessment took place on June 25 and 26 in Los Angeles. It brought together district leaders and other stakeholders from across the state, used a combination of presentations and breakout sessions to examine the instructional shifts called for in the Common Core, emerging practices for effective implementation, and opportunities for collaboration that can facilitate a successful transition to the Common Core. The California Collaborative on District Reform partnered with REL West and California Education Partners to sponsor the event. These organizations co-sponsored a similar symposium in August 2012 in Northern California.