Sections / Articles

For Printing

common core checklist_2_22_2013as.pdf142.55 KB

Common Core Implementation Checklist for Principals

May 2012, Volume 35, Issue 9

Principal leadership is critical in the transition to Common Core State Standards. NAESP has developed this checklist to help you determine what bodies of knowledge and skill sets you will need to gain as you prepare to lead your school into using the new standards.

As a first step, you will need to gauge your basic knowledge of the standards—asking yourself if you are informed about the standards themselves, your state/district’s approach to implementation, recommendation from experts, models from other states, and national updates and trends. You might find it helpful to have key resources at your fingertips, several of which are identified in the checklist below.

Use the checklist to determine areas where you have made progress toward Common Core implementation as well as areas to focus on as you move forward. Visit NAESP’s website for additional resources, including NAESP’s free webinars on Common Core State Standards or those archived on NAESP’s Common Core State Standards Resources Page.

Common Core Implementation Checklist

Please identify areas of strengths and needs by checking tasks that you have completed and making notes about your plans.

Leadership, Awareness Building, and Communication

Are you:

Setting a vision for your school community’s transition to Common Core State Standards?

Establishing teacher buy in, leading communications so that teacher leaders are engaged and committed?

Exploring ways to implement the Common Core (Review)? Are teachers taking small steps to adjust to the rigor and expectations?

Allowing for incubation—time for teachers to reflect?

Communicating changes to curriculum with parents? 

Leadership Resources:

Professional Development for Teachers

Are you:

Gathering information to understand teachers’ needs?

Enhancing the use of an inquiry-based approach at your school?

Facilitating understanding curriculum changes for Math?

  • Conceptual understanding
  • Focus
  • Reasoning
  • Mastery

Facilitating understanding curriculum changes for English Language Arts?

  • Text complexity
  • Rigor
  • Shift to focus on informational text
  • Evidence-based supports for writing

Facilitating understanding the implications for other subjects?

  • Science
  • Social Studies

Facilitating understanding of assessments?

  • Intent 
  • Item prototype
  • Delivery (technology)

Professional Development Resources:

Implications for Student Learning

Are you:

Measuring students’ engagement in new, deeper, more rigorous learning activities supporting the Common Core and documenting the evidence?

Identifying grade levels/subjects that appear to be at the forefront of implementing Common Core in your school?

Identifying grade levels/subjects that might need more help in implementing the Common Core in your school?

Determining plans for English-language learners, students with individualized education plans, and gifted and talented students in your school?

Developing plans for struggling students?

Student Learning Resources:

Capacity Building

Are you:

Planning job-embedded professional development?

Determining a timeline for implementation?

Determining a team of Common Core instructional leaders?

Determining a plan for getting assistance?

Determining how you might need to adjust budgeting, staffing, planning, or professional development?

Identifying additional funding/resources from your state, district, foundations, and other sources?

Setting strategies to monitor and adjust during the implementation period?

Capacity Building Resources:

Special Considerations for Your School

Is your school a Needs Improvement/Turnaround/Transformation school?

Does your school have unique populations (ELL, special disabilities, socioeconomic)?

Has your school experienced recent teacher-turnover?

Is your school in the midst of union/labor expectations/negotiations?

Are adjustments in curriculum needed (which areas/grades)?

Special Consideration Resources:

  • The resource page prepared by the Council for Exceptional Children provides resources on what educators need to know for implementation.
  • IDEA Partnership features fact sheets and PowerPoints to help explain alternate assessments.

Conclusions About Implementation in Your School

Identify 2-3 key strengths:




Identify 2-3 areas of focus for improvement:





For additional assistance, contact Christine Mason, NAESP's associate executive director, research and development.


Copyright © 2012. National Association of Elementary School Principals. No part of the articles in NAESP magazines, newsletters, or website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, view NAESP’s reprint policy.

common core checklist_2_22_2013as.pdf142.55 KB