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The Principal’s Role in Implementing Common Core State Standards at the Secondary School Level


Tracey Lamb, Principal, Fulton County High School (Hickman, KY)
Mel Riddile, EdD, Associate Director for High School Services,
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

Forty-six states plus the District of Columbia have adopted common core state standards as the next iteration of their states’ English language arts (ELA) and math standards (Minnesota has adopted the ELA standards only). To prepare for these new standards, states have been working with teachers and administrators to “crosswalk” the new standards to the current ones, and to prepare for and incorporate the new standards into classroom teaching and learning. Among other things, the new standards reassert the urgency for schoolwide literacy programs and an increase in rigor at all grade levels. To support teachers and students properly in this work, it is critical that school principals engage fully with the new standards and lead large-scale changes in their schools that will enable students to achieve at the level required by the new standards. Before instruction can change, principals must build the capacity to change.

What kinds of preparation must principals undertake to ensure that their students will be prepared to master new college- and career-ready standards and to demonstrate that mastery on the new assessments they will take in School Year 2014–15? On April 12, 2012, the Alliance for Excellent Education and NASSP held a webinar discussion of this important question.

The webinar also included a question and answer period to address questions submitted by viewers across the nation.

Supplemental materials

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance, visit

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than forty-five countries around the world.

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