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Teachers and the Common Core: Moving from Awareness to Classroom Practice

March 20, 2013

Teacher networks are powerful.  They are perhaps the most trusted and often-cited source of information for teachers in accessing instructional resources.   As Common Core begins to come to life in classrooms across the United States, we know that  teachers will first turn to their peers for implementation support—those who have seen what works with their students, who understand the complexities of their craft, and who are arguably in their same shoes.  But how can organizations who work with teacher networks be supportive in helping shift toward this new set of standards, and accelerate the great teacher-to-teacher learning that we know is already taking place? 

The Gates Foundation would like to challenge organizations with robust teacher networks to accelerate their efforts to support Common Core implementation in literacy and mathematics.  To that end, we are announcing a $2 million competition to support teachers in implementing the Common Core. 

Our Request for Proposals,  Shifting into High Gear:  Accelerating the Common Core through Teacher Networks” is designed to encourage organizations who support teachers to propose innovative ideas to shine light on the fundamental areas in the Common Core which lead to instructional shifts in both literacy and mathematics.  Grant awards will range from $100,000 to $250,000.  While there have been good models of implementation of the common core in discrete areas, there is still a need to support the spreading and scaling of good tools that can be used by teachers across the country.  And there is a need to maximize the expertise of teachers themselves in designing and implementing these scaling strategies.

 Teachers across the country report that they feel somewhat unprepared to put the Common Core into practice.  Our goals with this RFP are to support teachers in ways that get them closer to implementing the Common Core and ensuring students nationally realize its promise.  Our intent is to fund organizations in scaling the awareness of the instructional shifts of the Common Core State Standards across their networks to large numbers of teachers through non-traditional means.  We hope to also fund powerful networks who are moving beyond awareness, to supporting changes in practice.

This opportunity is designed to build on the great work already happening with teachers in order to accelerate Common Core implementation efforts by doing the following:

  • Build on early Common Core math and literacy direct implementation strategies (to leverage lessons learned and broaden the impact to the organization’s entire network. 
  • Support an innovative approach to understanding the Common Core that could be used across an organization’s network Create more scalable solutions that travel across networks quickly and broadly so that powerful strategies that support teachers in one network can be easily applied to others, enabling us all to reach scale more quickly.  We invite you to consider this challenge and spread the word among those you know doing great work to support teachers.  
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