Missouri Learning Standards implementation struggles

Posted Date: 3/13/2014

Resources and support are key to getting it right.

Recent NEA research shows that in states that involved teachers and provided them with the time, training and resources they need to make the standards work, educator support for the standards is strong.  But nationally, 70 percent of teachers report poor implementation of the common core in their schools. Consequently, NEA members feel frustrated about not getting the kind of support needed to implement new standards.

“The first step is for policymakers to treat teachers as professionals and listen to what we know is needed,” says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.Give us the resources and time—time to learn the standards, collaborate with each other, develop curriculum that is aligned to the standards, and time to field-test the standards in classrooms to determine what works and what needs adjustment.  We also need the financial resources for updated textbooks and fully aligned teaching and learning materials.”

When Missouri educators have time to explore the Common Core State Standards together, they often find many of their current units and lessons can be adjusted to meet the new standards.  For example, modifying questions asked in a discussion and asking students to explain how they arrived at the answer may do the trick for some lessons.  The CCSS ask all educators to help students improve their reading skills and set goals for higher reading levels, but educators are free to choose any appropriate reading material. 

Resources for Teachers 

See how math and English CCSS work in real classrooms through short, targeted videos for specific grades and objectives. 

There just isn't enough time in the day to talk to your colleagues, find resources and plan. Extend your connectivity by joining the NEA GPS Network. More than 60 groups focused on key topics are active now.  In late May, the network will include groups focused on teaching CCSS for individual K-12 grade levels for math and English language arts, and grade-span groups (6-8, 9-10, 11-12) for literacy in social studies, literacy in science, and literacy/writing.  Sign up or start a group of your own at www.gpsnetwork.org. 

NEA Common Core Toolkit
This 53-page toolkit provides general background and links to pertinent information about the CCSS as well as practical assistance and planning. Find it at www.nea.org/commoncore.

Model Curriculum Units created by Missouri teachers
Go to
dese.mo.gov and select Model Curriculum. Search by grade or subject. K-12 English language arts, math and social studies lessons include objectives aligned with standards; instructional strategies; and open-source resources like videos, readings and classroom activities.

Teacher Support Tool
This annual subscription to a powerful online tool provides access to resources aligned with the Common Core State Standards and with state standards. The subscription includes:

  • Effective instructional strategies
  • Lesson plans for immediate use in the classroom
  • Parent activities
  • Unlimited access to online professional development linked directly to the instructional strategies and the professional teaching standards

Drawn from the Learning Bridges® Online Professional Development System for teachers, these accelerated courses are available at no additional cost. Teachers can access them whenever they need them. Cost is $95 for NEA members. Regular price is $159.  Learn more at www.NEA Academy.org.

Here you’ll find exemplary lessons that illustrate the range and types of mathematical work students should experience under CCSS from K-12, as well as graphic representations of the learning progressions that occur across grade levels by strand.

Explore hundreds of teacher created tools from posters to lessons you can use in your classroom.

Many resources are for sale, but many are free. You can search for “free” and your grade and subject.

Find free K-12 classroom challenges for math and sample literacy units in English, science and social studies.

Professional Development for Common Core
Take time to explore the full set of standards if your school has not already taken this important step.  Review the full standards for your subject. This gives you confidence that important concepts or skills you see as missing are covered in another grade.  You can also see how what you teach this year fits with what students get in following years.

Missouri state statute requires school districts to have a professional development committee, selected by teachers, that helps determine how professional development funds are allocated.  Let your professional development committee know what you need to implement Common Core State Standards.

NEA CCSS Toolkit
NEA provides everything needed to lead a group of teachers and paraprofessionals in your building though a series of sessions tailored to their subjects, including facilitator guides, Powerpoints, handouts and readings.  Get the most benefit by allotting the longest times given.  Any session can be done in shorter chunks to fit with your schedule.

Why the Common Core? How these Standards are Different  1-1.5 hours

Introduction to the Math Standards, 1-4 hours

Deep Dive into the Math Shifts, 1-3 hours

Introduction to the English Language Arts/Literacy Shifts 1-2 hours

Understanding Text-Dependent Questions 1-4 hours

Introduction to Literacy Shifts in Content Areas 1-2 hours

Understanding Text-Dependent Questions 1-4 hours

Find all materials and more in the NEA Common Core State Standards Toolkit at www.nea.org, select Issues and Actions, then Common Core State Standards.

Find many quality online courses to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of their content and how to teach it to students to meet the Common Core State Standards.  Self-study classes are ideal for doing with colleagues in a learning community.  Many are only available to NEA members, and NEA members get a discounted price.


Resources for Teachers and Students 

This site has updated many K-12 math exercises to address Common Core Math Standards and is adding more. You can brush up your own skills or set it up for your students to use. 

Resources for Parents 

Parent guides to Common Core for each grade level in English and Spanish
Go to
www.pta.org, and search for “Parents’ Guide to Student Success.”  Share the guides with parents to let them know what students are expected to learn in each grade. 

This site has updated many K-12 math exercises to address Common Core Math Standards and is adding more. You can brush up your own skills or set it up for your children to use. 

Families and Educators Working Together for Student Success 

How families and educators can work together to help students transition to Common Core State Standards and achieve success.

Families and Educators Advocate for Student Achievement 

Become an advocate for Common Core State Standards. Find out how you can support change outside the classroom that will help student achieve success inside it.

Parents' Guide to Student Success
National PTA® created the guides for each K-8 grade and two for grades 9-12 (one for English language arts/literacy and one for mathematics). Guides include activities that parents can do at home to support their child's learning. Available to download in English and Spanish. 

Placemat Sampler for Common Core Standards (DESE)

Placemat Sampler for Common Core Assessments (DESE)

by Ann Jarrett

Something Better, Spring 2014

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