Road Maps to Common Core Success

White Plains, N.Y. — March 21, 2013

Agenda in Detail

Get ready for an intensive day of learning and practice, from which you will leave prepared to return to your district or office with new ideas to power up success for students and teachers. Register now.

8:00 a.m.–8:05 a.m.
“Welcome to White Plains”
With Chris Clouet (View Bio), Superintendent, White Plains City Schools, N.Y.

8:05 a.m.–8:15 a.m.
Welcome to the Day and You Are Here: Common Core Today

Catherine Gewertz (View Bio), Assistant Editor and Common Core Beat Reporter, Education Week

Join Education Week Assistant Editor Catherine Gewertz as she brings you up to date on the Common Core State Standards, including everything you need to know to get the most from your day. For the last several years, Catherine has been on the front lines interviewing education professionals from across the nation who are grappling with implementation and the challenges of this huge undertaking.

8:15 a.m.–9 a.m.
Attendee Lightning Round Introductions
At the start of our day, we’re going to come to each table and introduce ourselves. In events like these, it’s so easy to get lost in the crowd. But each of you are just as much experts as the professionals we’ve brought to you and will interview on stage. As our mic runners come ’round, introduce yourself, telling us your name, affiliation and what bring you here this morning.

9 a.m.–9:40 a.m.
Destination: Assessments
Indiana and New York are helping lead the development of the PARCC assessment. That test is scheduled to be in place in 2014-15. But what does a state do in the meantime to adapt its tests to reflect the common core? State assessment officials share their work to revise state tests in the run-up to the common assessments, and district leaders discuss their strategies for ensuring that teachers and students are well prepared for the changes.

  • Find out how state tests will change in the next few years.
  • Hear why state leaders decided to make the changes they did, and how those changes will affect districts.
  • Learn from their experiences and better prepare your district for the assessment transition.

Confirmed Guest speakers:
· Ken Slentz (View Bio), Deputy Commissioner for the Office of P-12 Education, New York State Education Department
· Elaine Kanas (View Bio), Superintendent of Schools, East Williston Union Free School District, N.Y.

9:40 a.m.–10:20 a.m.
Forging a Path for Change: Effective Training for Your Educators

The immediate need of school districts is helping their educators embrace the instructional shifts called for in the common-core standards. These shifts will necessitate both a deeper understanding of concepts and a focus on using higher-order, cognitively challenging assignments. Updated professional development for current and new teachers will need to reflect these goals in order for the standards to be successfully implemented.

The challenge of delivering high-quality professional development for teachers on the standards will require big solutions, including how to:

  • Find the PD strategies that work
  • Build “buy-in” for the standards with your teachers.
  • Negotiate the transition to common-core-aligned assessments

Confirmed Guest speakers:
· Mark Baumgartner (View Bio), Director of Professional Issues, Cleveland Teachers Union
· Linda Chen (View Bio), Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Boston Public Schools
· Eric Gordon (View Bio), CEO, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
· Lu Settles Young (View Bio), Superintendent, Jessamine County School District, Ky., Superintendent of the Year, Kentucky

10:20 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Midmorning Networking Break

10:45 a.m.–11:40 a.m.
Midmorning Keynote—Building My Road Map to Districtwide Success

Presented by
MaryEllen Elia (View Bio)
Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Fla.

Taking everything you’ve learned as a district leader, how do you develop the right road map for your district? Learn from a superintendent who has met with roadblocks and successfully navigated a path with great outcomes.

(Note: a portion of this keynote will take place in conversation with Education Week Associate Editor Liana Heitin)

11:40 a.m.–12:50 p.m.
Working Lunch: As we transition from our pre-lunch discussions, we’re carrying the conversation into our 75-minute mealtime. Take part in one of the following discussion and networking tracks. You will choose your track when you register, and table moderators will report out about lessons learned at the conclusion of lunch.

  • Reading/ELA Implementation
  • Online Assessments
  • Mathematics and the Common Core
  • Teacher Professional Development

Join your fellow district leaders for frank chats about the challenges on the road ahead.

12:50 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
Midday Keynote–Leadership Secrets for a Successful Journey

Presented by:
John B. King, Jr. (View Bio), Commissioner of Education, New York State Education Department and President of the University of the State of New York

Commissioner King brings his statewide experience implementing the common core standards throughout New York to this year’s Education Week Leadership Forum. King and his entire state common core leadership team brings a dynamic approach to CCSS implementation within the state. His experiences will leave you charged up to go back to your schools and effectively lay out the road map to success in your district for your students. He’ll address with you:

  • A broad range of open source material freely available to districts to drive instruction.
  • Professional development network teams throughout the state supporting districts during common core implementation plan.
  • Instructional shifts for the common core that will be reflected in the 2013 common core assessments for English language arts and mathematics.

(Note: a portion of this keynote will take place in conversation with Education Week Assistant Editor Erik Robelen)

1:30 p.m.–2:10 p.m.
Math Practices and the Common Core

The new standards envision some big shifts for math instruction in the nation’s schools. They call for covering fewer math concepts but probing them in greater depth, promoting increased coherence in math teaching across topics and grade levels, and engaging students in a set of eight “mathematical practices” to show their understanding, from making sense of problems to reasoning abstractly and constructing viable arguments. This panel will explore the approaches several districts are employing to tackle the common core in math.

  • Learn concrete ways that districts can embed the mathematical practices into classroom instruction.
  • Discover types of professional development and ongoing support that district leaders can utilize to best help their teachers understand and teach the new standards.
  • Acquire strategies to identify the best instructional materials to meet your district’s needs.
  • Pick up tips on explaining to parents and the broader community what the standards will mean for them and their children.

Confirmed Guest speaker:
· Kay Sammons (View Bio), Elementary Mathematics Coordinator, Howard County Public Schools, Md.
· Maria Santos (View Bio), Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Leadership and Equity in Action, Oakland Unified School District, Ca.
· Twana Young (View Bio), Director of K12 Mathematics, Columbus City Schools

2:10 p.m.–2:35 p.m.
Midday Networking Break

2:35 p.m.–3:15 p.m.
Literacy Instruction in the Time of the Common Core: Effective District Approaches

The common standards demand new approaches to reading and writing instruction. Students should be immersed in “close reading” of complex, grade-level texts, and read more nonfiction than they have in the past. They must learn to build a cogent argument and cite the evidence on which it’s based. And they must adapt their reading strategies to the unique demands of each discipline. You’ll learn:

  • How district leaders can help teachers find ways to support students in accessing—and conquering—challenging texts.
  • New strategies to help teachers guide students through informational text.
  • Promising ways to involve teachers of all disciplines in promoting writing that builds arguments and cites evidence.

Confirmed Guest speaker:
· Linda Chen (View Bio), Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Boston Public Schools
· Brian Pick (View Bio), Chief of Teaching and Learning, District of Columbia Public schools


Catherine GewertzCatherine Gewertz
Assistant Editor and Common Core Beat Reporter, Education Week

Gewertz covers academic standards and assessment for Education Week. She also reports on those issues for Education Week’s “Curriculum Matters” blog. Before moving to the curriculum beat, she spent a decade covering urban education and secondary schools. Prior to joining Education Week, Gewertz wrote for The Los Angeles Times and United Press International.

MaryEllen EliaMaryEllen Elia
Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools

Elia has been the superintendent of the Hillsborough County Public Schools, based in Tampa, Fla., since 2005. Under her leadership, this demographically diverse school district—the eighth-largest in the nation, with 193,000 students—has emerged as a hub for innovative approaches to K-12 learning.Hillsborough County is a national leader in implementing the Common Core State Standards at the classroom level. To support that initiative, the district has created a site-based learning model and developed an assessment protocol to determine which methods for implementation are most effective.After Elia’s first year as superintendent the district earned its first overall grade of A under the state’s school grading system, and it has earned three more since.

Elia began her career as a social studies teacher in upstate New York in 1970. In 1986, she relocated to the Tampa Bay area and became a reading resource specialist. She served as the Hillsborough County district’s first magnet schools supervisor, as its general director of secondary education, and as its chief facilities officer.

Her many honors include the College Board’s District of the Year Beacon Award, the Florida Department of Education’s Data Leader of the Year award, the Inaugural Governor’s Business Partnership Award from the Florida Council of 100, and the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations’ 2007 Superintendent of the Year.

In 2009, her district was awarded what appears to be the largest grant ever given to a school district: $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support teacher effectiveness.

Ken SlentzKen Slentz
Deputy Commissioner, Office of P-12 Education, New York State Education Department

As the deputy commissioner for P-12 education for the New York State Education Department, Slentz oversees offices dealing with curriculum, instruction, and field services; policy and strategic planning; school innovation; special education; accountability; assessment policy development and administration; school operations and management services; administrative support; and Race to the Top performance management.

Slentz works closely with the state board of regents and the commissioner of education to implement and advance the state’s education reform agenda and manages technical assistance to prekindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary schools. He has been tasked with reorienting the education department to a more service-driven approach to school districts and boards of cooperative educational services.

In his 18 years in public education, Slentz has also served as a teaching assistant, teacher, curriculum director, principal, and district superintendent.

Liana Heitin
Associate Editor, Education Week Teacher

Heitin is the associate editor of Education Week Teacher, as well as a contributing reporter for Education Week. She previously taught students with special needs as a public school teacher, reading specialist, and private tutor. She has a master’s degree in cross-categorical special education and worked for several years as the editor of a website on learning disabilities. Liana’s writing was featured in the book, The Ultimate Teacher: The Best Experts’ Advice for a Noble Profession.

Erik W. Robelen
Assistant Editor, Education Week
Robelen has written on a wide range of K-12 issues since joining the newspaper in 1999, from federal and state policy and budget matters to education law, research, and school choice. His primary areas of coverage currently are curriculum across content areas and education philanthropy. He also is the co-author of Curriculum Matters, a blog on

Prior to joining Education Week, Robelen was an education policy analyst and writer at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, a national nonprofit organization. Before that, he worked as a reporter and editor covering federal and state environmental issues for Inside Washington Publishers, an independent newsletter publisher.

Brian Pick
Brian Pick
Chief of Teaching and Learning, District of Columbia Public schools

Pick sits on the D.C. Chancellor’s instructional team and provides strategic alignment and direction for the district’s academic work. His current efforts focus on ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality curriculum, engaging instruction, and aligned interim assessments. Over the past three years, Pick has led the development and rollout of the DCPS Teaching and Learning Framework; served as the chairperson of the standards, assessments, data, and accountability working group for DC’s successful Race to the Top application; and led the development, coordination, and implementation of the district’s academic strategy. He is also the 2012 recipient of the national Curriculum Leadership Award from the Council of Great City Schools. Prior to joining DCPS, Brian worked as a teacher, an education consultant, and an education policy analyst. He is an alumnus of both Teach For America and Education Pioneers.

John B. King, Jr.
John B. King, Jr.
Commissioner of Education, New York State Education Department and President of the University of the State of New York

As New York State Education Commissioner, John B. King, Jr., oversees more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools (serving 3.1 million students), and hundreds of other educational institutions across New York State including higher education, libraries, and museums. King is a strong voice for education reform, and he was a driving force in New York’s successful Race to the Top application. A former high school teacher and middle school principal, King has earned a national reputation for his vision and commitment to education reform.

Maria Santos
Maria Santos
Deputy Superintendent for Instruction, Leadership and Equity in Action

Oakland Unified School District, Ca.Before becoming the deputy superintendent for instruction, leadership and equity in action for the Oakland Unified School District, Santos was the senior instructional manager and superintendent for the Office of English Language Learners (ELLs) at the New York City Department of Education. Santos has designed and developed strategic initiatives and resources for several nonprofit organizations that provide state and national support, setting trends in the educational agenda nationwide.

As an education program officer at Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds, Santos designed the Leadership for Education Achievement in District project—a program that engaged 12 urban districts in 12 states in developing educational leadership to improve student learning. Before going to New York City, Santos spent 20 years in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). As associate superintendent, she supervised the development of major instructional improvement initiatives such as SFUSD’s Professional Development Initiative and gained SFUSD the recognition of an exemplary site by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Award for Professional Development.

Elaine Kanas
Elaine Kanas
Superintendent of Schools

East Williston Union Free School District, N.Y.As the superintendent of the East Williston Union Free School District, Kanas leads a high-achieving K-12 district of more than 1,700 students that prides itself on an individualized, personalized approach to education. Before joining East Williston in August 2012, she served for four years as the superintendent of the Valley Stream 30 schools, a 1,500-student elementary school district in New York.

Kanas has played an active role in curriculum and educational leadership on the state, regional, and local levels. She currently serves on the New York State Education Department’s advisory panel on English/language arts, pre-K through grade 12. As the co-chair of the Nassau Council of School Superintendents’ curriculum committee, she is involved in curriculum leadership for the county. She also has served as a member of the council of superintendents’ executive board and as the leader of the Nassau County Southwest Quadrant of Superintendents. Working in collaboration with both East Williston’s and Valley Stream 30’s Annual Professional Performance Review Plan committees, she has supported the development of a coherent framework for teacher evaluation and professional development that provides both high standards of staff accountability and opportunities for professional growth, linked to successful student achievement and development.

Kanas also served for five years as the assistant superintendent for instruction and personnel in New York’s Carmel Central School District. In addition, she taught at Teachers College, Columbia University, as an adjunct assistant professor in the department of curriculum and teaching, instructing master’s and doctoral students in designing curriculum for K-12 and higher education.

Christopher Clouet
Christopher Clouet
Superintendent of Schools, White Plains City School District, N.Y.

He is currently the superintendent of the White Plains City School District in Westchester, N.Y., where he has served since 2009. Clouet has served as a superintendent throughout the state for the past twelve years. He served as superintendent of the New London Public Schools, New London, Conn., from 2004 to 2009. He was the statewide chair of the Connecticut Association of Urban Superintendents for several years and was a member of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents’ Executive Board. Before that he served as a high school principal, a district curriculum coordinator, a technology director, and as a bilingual teacher.

He currently serves in the New York State Council of School Superintendents’ House of Delegates. As a member of the Council for American and International Schools Abroad he has chaired a number of international school accreditation team visits to schools in Cuba, Costa Rica, Botswana and Mexico. He has established vibrant sister school relationships with a number of schools in China. And he hosts the “White Plains School Report” on cable TV.

The National School Public Relations Association recently recognized his district with an award for his efforts to bring the use of new media to the White Plains district. He has led efforts to develop a Global-Oriented Education approach featured in an article he published the AASA School Administrator magazine (April 2012). He serves as an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Linda Chen
Linda Chen
Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Boston Public Schools

Chen oversees the Boston district’s offices of curriculum and instruction, early childhood, professional development, and teacher effectiveness. She is responsible for implementation of the Common Core State Standards in the 57,000 student district and the standards’ integration with Massachusetts’ new educator-evaluation system, as well as other Race to the Top initiatives.

She previously served in leadership roles in the Philadelphia school district, as assistant superintendent of a division of elementary and middle schools, as well as deputy chief of teaching and learning in charge of the offices of curriculum and instruction and English-language learners; and in the New York City system, as the principal of a dual-language school and as regional director of literacy.

Chen, who has taught in New York City and Seattle, was a literacy consultant and staff developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She is the co-author of Balanced Literacy for English Language Learners (Heinemann, 2007); worked as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Southern California; and has consulted nationally and internationally on the teaching of literacy.

Lu Settles Young
Lu Settles Young
Superintendent, Jessamine County School District, Ky., Superintendent of the Year, Kentucky

Young is in her 30th year with the Jessamine County school system, a suburban Kentucky district with approximately 7,900 students. She has been the superintendent since 2004 and was Kentucky’s 2012 Superintendent of the Year. She is pursuing her doctorate at Northern Kentucky University.

In addition to her work at the district level, Young was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to the state Gifted Advisory Council. She also serves as vice president of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and as a member of the Interagency Advisory Council for the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children, the board of the Kentucky Council for Administrators of Special Education, and the Superintendents’ Advisory Council—an advisory group to the state commissioner of education. At the national level, she serves on the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators.

Young emphasizes her pride in her district’s mission statement: to motivate and challenge every child, every day.

Mark Baumgartner
Mark Baumgartner
Director of Professional Issues, Cleveland Teachers Union

Baumgartner has been a teacher for 23 years in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. For the last 20 years, he has taught 7th grade English at Luis Munoz Marin School. He is currently an elected officer of the Cleveland Teachers Union. He is also the director of professional issues for the CTU, a position he has held for the past four years. His responsibilities in that post include being the co-chair of the Promoting Education Advancement in Cleveland/Peer Assistance and Review (PEAC/PAR) Governing Board and co-chair of the Cleveland Race to the Top Transformation Team.

Kay SammonsKay Sammons
Elementary Mathematics Coordinator, Howard County Public Schools, Md.

Sammons is responsible for curriculum development and professional development for teachers and administrators in the 50,000 student Howard County district, located between Baltimore and Washington. She has been both a classroom teacher and a mathematics resource teacher, and she has served on several committees of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

She is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences for the NCTM and has co-authored several publications for teachers. She is an author of Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley enVisionMATH. She was honored as the Maryland Teacher of the Year in 1986 and Maryland Educator of the Year in 1995.

Twana Young
Twana Young
Director Mathematics and Science K-12, Columbus City Schools, Ohio

Young has received many awards and recognitions for her commitment to education including achieving National Board Certification in Mathematics: Early Adolescence, the Columbus Public School Districts Teacher of the Year Award, the Urban Systemic Initiative Award and twice receiving the Performance Advancement System (PAS) Award for improving student achievement.

Throughout her educational career, Young has been actively engaged in promoting student achievement and developing curriculum, professional development, and programs to support district academic goals. Among some of the initiatives and programs that have been developed during her work as director of mathematics and sciences are the Primary Mathematics Intervention Program, the Numeracy Board curriculum, Discovery Dome district science program, and the creation of online common core mathematics professional development modules (currently in development).

Young serves on several district and community teams including the Standards and Assessment Committee for her district’s Race to the Top work and the Learn for Life Summer Learning Loss Mathematics work group. In addition to her work in the district, Young engages in state and national leadership activities including; serving as a guest speaker for college classes; presenting at state and national conferences and serving on state and national committees including the Ohio Leadership Collaborative and the Council of Great City School’s Mathematics Advisory Committee.

Eric S. Gordon
Eric S. Gordon
Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Gordon was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) in June 2011 after having served as the district’s chief academic officer for four years. He is responsible for the leadership and daily management of Cleveland’s 41,000-student school district.

Gordon, together with Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and other business, philanthropic, and educational leaders, successfully lobbied Ohio legislators in 2012 to pass The Cleveland Plan, a package of education reform legislation that was signed into law on July 2, 2012. The Cleveland Plan has received national attention for its strong bipartisan support and unprecedented collaborative process that united the people of Cleveland around a collective mission to transform their public school system.

Cleveland school’s CEO is active nationally in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards curriculum and in the implementation of social and emotional learning standards for children and serves as the co-chair for the Achievement Taskforce of the Council of the Great City Schools, among others.

Under his leadership as CEO, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District was selected as one of six districts in the country, awarded a Gates Common Core early implementation grant through the Council of Great City Schools in fall 2010. This grant allowed districts to begin early awareness and implementation of district understanding around the shift from current standards to the new common core ELA/Math standards. In 2012, the he was a finalist for CGCS’s Richard R. Greene Award, recognizing CEO Gordon as one of the nation’s Top Ten Leaders in Urban Education.

Prior to joining CMSD, Gordon was the executive director for secondary learning for the Olentangy local schools in suburban Columbus, Ohio, where he was responsible for all aspects of education for students in grades 6-12. He is an experienced educator, having served as a teacher, assistant principal, or principal in both suburban and urban school districts.

Gordon remains an active member, attendee, participant, and presenter at the Council of Great City Schools annual conferences, where he regularly shares best practices that lead to achieving measurable results in the academic transformation process.


Indianapolis - March 11, 2013
White Plains - March 21, 2013