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With the advent of the Common Core State Standards, the need for distributed instructional leadership has never been greater.
Lack of Resources for High-Quality, Common Core-Aligned Instruction
Despite decades of well-funded school reform, the achievement gap in California is larger than ever. The good news is that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) show great promise toward increasing the college and career readiness of all students. Still, longstanding implementation challenges stand in the way. As many teachers and schools leaders can attest, there is a conspicuous lack of agreement over precisely what high quality CCSS-aligned classroom teaching looks like in action. While in theory this ambiguity affords teachers the opportunity to draw upon their professionalism to define, develop and articulate effective CCSS-aligned classroom practice, the practical reality is that they lack the time, resources, collaborative culture and expertise needed to do so.
Create a Learning Laboratory for Common Core-Aligned Instructional Practices
Starting with the end in mind, Reach seeks to bring accomplished teachers and school leaders, Reach faculty, and other researchers and content/instructional experts together to research, develop, pilot, refine, and disseminate models of effective CCSS-aligned instruction. The benefits from such a process are numerous. For participants—especially teachers, who are rarely afforded such opportunities—the experience itself can be transformative, producing a unique sense of efficacy and professionalism. And by contributing to the development of strategies and tools to facilitate the deeper learning called for by the new standards, and making them freely available as open source materials, the R&D products will assist a potentially large number of teachers in their efforts to implement the Common Core. By helping to close the “teaching gap,” Reach will help close the achievement gap.