Pinellas County Schools and ASCD Partner to Support Common Core Implementation

Pinellas County Schools (PCS) has chosen ASCD as its newest professional development partner. The seventh largest school system in Florida, PCS serves 104,000 preK–12th grade students in more than 145 schools.

PCS has set a goal of creating a professional development system for the district’s “Leading the Learning” cadres, instructional coaches, teaching and learning and professional development staff, and school-based administrators to support all PCS teachers in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) through school-based, job-embedded professional learning. To help meet this need, PCS professional development staff chose ASCD and the association’s Capacity-Building solution. Available to schools, districts, or regional service agencies, ASCD’s Capacity Building solution can be delivered on-site, virtually, or through a blended model.

“In collaboration with ASCD, we are creating a team of district experts equipped to lead research-based professional development activities,” said PCS Professional Development Director Lisa Grant. “These activities will build educators’ background knowledge and understanding of the new standards so that they can be integrated into best-practice strategies for achieving student success in the classroom.”

Built on the idea that school improvement needs structure and procedures that support ongoing sustainability, ASCD’s Capacity Building solution is customized for each partner through a process that focuses on awareness building, skill development, implementation, and maintenance of targeted educational behaviors over time.

ASCD, in close partnership with the Pinellas County Schools’ Professional Development and Teaching and Learning teams, has created a custom professional development program designed to meet the district’s requirements. One component of the initiative, which began in January, consists of a series of in-person and online workshops led by ASCD Faculty members on the topic of the Common Core State Standards. Another component includes additional workshops with school leaders providing the knowledge, leadership skills and tools supporting specific CCSS-focused instructional practices and other skills needed to support colleagues implementing the new standards.

Finally, ASCD staff is working on an ongoing basis with school-based and administrative leaders across the district to create and deliver additional job-embedded professional development activities that support teacher leaders and district-level staff implementing the standards.

“Successful implementation of the new Common Core State Standards depends on school systems’ ability to provide comprehensive, sustained, intensive professional development that helps integrate the standards into instruction,” said ASCD Executive Director and CEO Dr. Gene R. Carter. “Progressive school systems like Pinellas County Schools recognize this and are moving quickly to give teachers the training and resources they need to shift instruction."