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Common Core State Standards

March 18, 2013
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kellogg Center, MSU

The implementation and assessment of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the classroom is a very hot educational topic across America today. Perhaps the CCSS initiative is the largest change in America’s educational history. Change is always accompanied by a diversity of ideas, beliefs, and philosophies, which eventually converge into political groupings. Political groups can affect the change if they can assume power in some way.

Our session will focus on presenting an array of diversity and stimulating ideas that we have found exist today. We also have gathered a list of resources for your review, some of which are expected reading before the session and others are optional. During the session our goal is to inform you through discussion and videos and then to engage you with a panel of volunteer speakers, who will assist us in a critical dialogue about the Common Core State Standards. The session closing activities will include a sharing of session “take-aways” that will summarize our collective thoughts. We invite you to come prepared with your thoughts and beliefs and be ready to either pose questions or share your “point of view.”


EPFP Learning Team Members:
Todd Drummond, John Brooks, David MacQuarrie, Scott Palmer, and Daryl Tilley

The following panelists have graciously agreed to participate.

Lisa Rivard, Marianne Srock, Kelly Mix

Guest Speaker bios: 

Lisa Rivard, Ph.D.
Language Arts/ School Improvement Consultant
Macomb Intermediate School District

Dr. Lisa Rivard spent fifteen years as a teacher, principal, and coach for Utica Community Schools. She also worked at the central office level as the Director of Elementary Programs. Lisa is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University where she teaches Instructional Technology classes for district and school administrators. Dr. Rivard is currently employed at the Macomb Intermediate School District as a Language Arts Consultant and assists regional schools in developing effective literacy plans.

Marianne Srock
Mathematics Consultant
Macomb Intermediate School District

For the past thirty seven years, Marianne Srock has worked as a mathematics teacher, assistant principal, principal, and mathematics consultant in Macomb County. She is currently implementing the common core state standards and practices in twenty-one districts and approximately three hundred fifty schools. She is a descriptor writer for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and looks forward to a deepening of student understanding in mathematics with the Common Core implementation and the Smarter Balanced Assessment.


Professor Kelly Mix
College of Education
Michigan State University

Dr. Kelly Mix is a professor of educational psychology at MSU. Prior to receiving a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Chicago, she was an elementary teacher in northern California with a teaching specialization in science and math. Her research has focused primarily on the emergence of numeracy in early childhood.

Current projects include studies of the relation between spatial ability and mathematics in the early grades, the impact of concrete models on place value acquisition, and teachers' understanding of the Common Core State Standards for Math.


Letter to the 2012-13 cohort in preparation for participating in the session

  • Introduction Activator
  •  Common Core Standards: The Big Picture
  •  Guided Panel Discussion
  •  Closing Activities


Return to 2012-13 Calendar

[Letter to the cohort from the Learning Team:]

Dear Fellows,

We have prepared a list of articles, websites, links, etc., that can support our learning about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) session on Monday, March 18th. We have assembled a description, agenda, and a list of panelist biographies, who will be presenting during our session, and is posted on the EPFP Calendar link. Below is a list of both requested resources and optional resources for your preparation of the upcoming session.

The resources include articles pertaining to both base knowledge as well as those that present a critical point of view of the CCSS. We would like to present some different ways of looking at CCSS. As the time for CCSS implementation draws near, more dissenting voices are inevitably, “coming out of the wood work,” including serious ones like Professor Diane Ravitch. To prepare for the CCSS session we challenge you to ask yourselves, are these simply the usual “sky is falling” narratives that always accompany difficult change? Or, is there merit to some of these criticisms? If so, which ones? How do we know? Some people feel that much of the CCSS discourse has lacked critical analysis of many fundamental assumptions made by CCSS implementers.

We hope to engage you in an active dialogue and debate over the CCSS on Monday. We hope that you will come away with new ways of thinking about the CCSS and what it all means for us as Michigan educators and leaders.

See you Monday,

David, Daryl, John, Scott, & Todd

Requested Reading Resources:

Introduction to the Common Core State Standards; June 2, 2010

Common Core State Standards Initiative - Preparing for 2014: A Fundamental Shift Toward College and Career Readiness as the Focus of K-12 Education

Why I oppose Common Core standards: Ravitch (Diane Ravitch, February 26, 2013)

Why Common Core Standards Will Fail (Jay Mathews and Chester Finn)

  • ·         This provides many links for major works of scholar on CCSS
Optional Reading Resources:

Reference document from CCSSO

MDE Common Core Site,1607,7-140-6530_30334_51042-232021--,00.html

A Teacher’s Critique of the Common Core Standards (Dianerav; December 20, 2012)

  • Argument: CCSS are detailed and complex which increases the work of teacher to a great extent.

Coming to Terms with Common Core Standards (Willona Sloan)

  • A general description of the CCSS, process of implementation from different states. A comparative issues analysis.
  • Argument, “Adoption of common standards "will bring all states' standards down to the lowest common denominator”.

Common Core State Standards – Are Dangerous (Tultican)

A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education (Valerie Strauss)

Beyond Standardization: State Standards and School Reforms

State English Standards: An Appraisal of

English Language-Arts/Reading Standards in 28 States

Understanding Common Core Standards

Issues in Analyzing Alignment of Language Arts Common Core Standards with State Standards (Richard W. Beach)

State School Boards Raise Questions About Standards (Catherine Gewertz)

The Case for Literature (Nancie Atwell)

Relating Policy to Research and Practice: The Common Core Standards (Randy Bomer and Beth Maloch)

No Child Left Behind embraces 'college and career readiness'

A very good website for finding good stuff…

Subject-Matter Groups Want Voice in Standards: Math, Reading Associations Fear They'll Be Overlooked (Sean Cavanagh)

Opening the Literature Window (Carol Jago)

A diploma worth having

What is the Development of Literacy the Development Of? (Glynda A. Hull, University of California, Berkeley and Elizabeth Birr Moje, University of Michigan)

The Common Core State Standards: Caution and Opportunity for Early Childhood Education

Peering Toward the Horizon:  Reconciling Teacher and Student Perspectives on Studied Literature Texts in Anticipation of Common Core Standards (Kierstin H. Thompson)

A Common Core of a Different Sort: Putting Democracy at the Center of the Curriculum

Framework for English Language Proficiency/ Development Standards Corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards

June 2012

The Battle for National History Standards (Annika L. R. Labadie)

National costs of aligning states and localities to the CCSS, (Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research), No. 82, February, 2012.


Parent and Community Engagement

May 6, 2013
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Brody Complex, MSU

Over 40 years of research has documented the positive impact increased family engagement has on education outcomes.  The EPFP Parent and Community Engagement Learning Team seeks to:

  • define parent involvement
  • describe common barriers to quality parent engagement
  • discover innovative strategies to improve parent involvement
  • explore how policy can support parent involvement

The afternoon will begin with a brief introduction to the topic by the Learning Team, continue with short presentations by community members actively involved in parent and community engagement, followed by a panel discussion between educational leaders and Fellows, and will end with an application task.


EPFP Learning Team Members:
Jeff Cole, Linda Howley, Madeline Mavrogordato, Melissa Staub, Steve Tapia
The following panelists have graciously agreed to participate:
Sherri Boyd, Director of Michigan Alliance for Families
Yvonne Caamal Canul, Superintendent, Lansing School District
Sergio Keck, Director of Instructional Support, Lansing School District
Tammie Jones, Detroit Parent Network
Jamila Martin, Detroit Parent Network
Ted Ransaw, Academic Specialist, MSU Office of K-12 Outreach
Molly Sweeny, Excellent Schools, Detroit
Shereen Tabrizi, Manager, OFS Special Population Unit, MDE
Lorraine Ware, Principal, Red Cedar Elementary School, East Lansing Public Schools

Guest Speaker bios: 

Sherri Boyd
Sherri Boyd is the State Director of Michigan Alliance for Families. This program is funded by the state of Michigan’s Office of Special Education- Michigan Department of Education and OSEP at the federal level (Michigan’s Parent Training and Information Center). This grant provides statewide support to parents navigating the special education system through Information and Referral, Training and Mentoring.
Yvonne Caamal Canul
 Yvonne Caamal Canul, EPFP alumna (1990-91) and former EPFP program co-coordinator (2004-06), serves as superintendent of the Lansing Public Schools. Raised in Latin America, Yvonne brings a rich “world-view” to her work of 38 years in the field of education as a teacher, school principal, director of curriculum and assessment, consultant for low-performing schools, a state department of education official, and as a corporate senior executive in the private sector leading an innovation division dedicated to research, education product development, and global strategic partnerships. Most recently Yvonne led the Michigan site for a Kellogg Foundation funded Early Childhood collaborative between Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina. Currently, she is serving as the Superintendent for the Lansing School District and has initiated a bold restructuring plan that focuses on research-based grade span cohorts. Yvonne has received numerous awards, among them are the National Educator Award presented by the Milken Family Foundation and the Human Rights Award given by the Michigan Education Association.
Sergio Keck
Sergio Keck is currently the Director of Instructional Support Programs for the Lansing School District. His areas of supervision include: State and Federal Programs, Bilingual Education, Preschool Services, Alternative Education, Indian Education, Adult Education and Parent Involvement. He has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and director for various educational programs. Mr. Keck established a highly successfully Chinese-Immersion Program and a year later created a Spanish-Immersion Program at the elementary school level. In addition, he implemented an alternative blended model of instruction to provide options for disengaged high school students and to increase graduation rates. Mr. Keck is originally from Argentina and obtained his colleges degrees at Eastern Michigan University and Michigan State University.
Tammie Jones
Tammie Jones (EPFP 2011-12) serves as the Director of External Affairs at Detroit Parent Network, where she manages the organization’s membership, marketing and communication, and policy advocacy efforts. Prior to this position, Tammie was a Council of Michigan Foundations Public Policy Fellow at The Skillman Foundation. There, she worked on policy and advocacy issues impacting the Foundation’s Good Schools work, with a particular focus on assisting in the development of the citywide education infrastructure and ensuring access to high-quality schools within the Foundation’s target neighborhoods. Before moving to Detroit, Tammie worked for more than ten years with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Virginia, helping to establish two new locations serving a combined 400 youth members. In May 2009, Tammie completed her MBA at the University of Michigan – Ross School of Business, where she was selected by her peers to receive the Frank S. Moran Leadership Award. Tammie currently serves as Co-Chair of YNPN Detroit and is an Advisory Board member for the Salvation Army, Eastern Michigan Division.
Jamila Martin

Ted Ransaw

Molly Sweeny

Shereen Tabrizi
Dr. Shereen Tabrizi is the Manager of the Special Populations Unit with the Office of Field Services at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Along with a team of consultants, Shereen oversees several programs including: English Learner, Immigrant, Migrant, Homeless, Neglected/Delinquent and ‘at risk students.’ In her current position, she has led cross-office committees that created a Parent Engagement Toolkit, and Program Planning and Evaluation Tools. Dr. Tabrizi spear headed the establishment of a statewide Migrant Parent Advisory Committee, improved statewide and local English learner and migrant education program plans, and streamlined processes and procedures for students. Dr. Tabrizi strengthened parental engagement in students’ education through parent training and outreach. She implemented comprehensive support systems for students and teachers by forming partnerships with institutions of higher education and community based organizations. Dr. Tabrizi has a degree in English Education, a master’s degree in bilingual education and learning disabilities (double major), and a Ph.D. in special education, educational evaluation and research. Shereen is a former president of the Michigan Association for Bilingual Education, and the Michigan Educational Research Association. Dr Tabrizi advocates for implementing comprehensive and equitable services that address the needs of the “whole child.”

Lorraine Ware


MDE Parent Invovement Fact Sheet

National Middle Schools Association Parent Invovement Research Summary

Draft Agenda

12:00-1:00       Lunch

1:00-1:30         Overview of the Issue --EPFP Fellows

1:30-2:45         Presentations on Innovative Strategies to Improve Parent Involvement

2:45-2:55         Break

2:55-3:55         Panel Exploring How Policy Can Support Parent Involvement

3:55-4:05         Break

4:05-4:30         Activity


Return to 2012-13 Calendar

Leadership: The Never Ending Narrative

February 13, 2012
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

This Seminar will focus on the complexity of leadership. Fellows will have an opportunity to hear from two professionals in education: One from the Michigan Education Association and the other from the United Staff Organization. Discussions will focus on current hot topics and the challenges leaders face in implementing policy.  In addition, fellows will have an chance to explore their own leadership style.

EPFP Learning Team Members:
Thomn Bell
Donna Besinger
Sarah Cook
Mike Khoury
Julie Trevino
Resource People

Steven B. Cook
Steven B. Cook is the current President of the Michigan Education Association located in Lansing, Michigan.  He has been with the MEA since 1991.  Before being elected to President, he served as the Vice President of the association since 2006.  He also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the association from 1991-2006.  His term as President expires August 31, 2014. Cook is the first non-teacher in the history of MEA to be elected President.

Cook was a paraprofessional for 15 years for the Lansing Public Schools where he worked as a community school coordinator, home/school liaison in the elementary attendance project and alternative education.  He was the President of the Lansing Educational Assistants from 1981 to 1993.

Cook is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in history, economics and political science.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is a self-governing education association, representing more than 155,000 members that consist of teachers, faculty and education support staff throughout the State of Michigan.

Tom Greene
Tom Greene works for the Michigan Education Association as a Uniserv Director for the Plymouth/Canton Community Schools.  Tom is currently on leave from that position as he serves as the President of the United Staff Organization (USO).  USO represents employees from six staff unions that work for MEA, MESSA and MEA Financial Services.

Tom has completed several trainings around the state and at MEA’s major conferences.  One of the trainings he does is Successful Leadership….A Matter of Style.  Tom is also a certified trainer and facilitator for the Interest Based Bargaining style that some districts are using.

Tom also does training and facilitating on a national level through his affiliation with the National Staff Organization (NSO). He is an Executive Committee member of that organization.


Change -- It's What's for Dinner

The Gap Between Policy and Implementation

March 5 2012
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

Session Description forthcoming.

EPFP Learning Team Members:
Gregg Dionne
Terry Flennaugh
Ross Fort
Tammie Jones
Andy Middlestead


Resource People

Amber Arellano

Executive Ditector, Education Trust-Midwest

Amber Arellano is the executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. Arellano has more than two decades of experience in journalism, public policy and strategic public relations. Most recently she was a columnist and editorial board writer for The Detroit News, where she used the News' online platform of more than 1.2 million unique visitors a month to advocate on behalf of low-income and urban students.  In 2009 the National Association of Hispanic Journalists named her Commentator of the Year for what it called her influential and crusading coverage of Michigan education. Throughout her career she has covered immigration, politics and education in the Midwest, Southern California, and Mexico.  She won national awards for her work as the Race Relations Reporter at The Detroit Free Press.  She served at the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Executive Office in Geneva, Switzerland.  Her work has spanned the corporate, governmental and non-profit sectors while maintaining a focus on providing a voice for the voiceless.

Arellano holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy, where she specialized in poverty and employment policy. She earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education and journalism from Michigan State University, and studied at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Mexico.  She has taught and mentored students of every age, from elementary school to high school and at Michigan State University.  A Michigan native and daughter of a respected community activist mom and United Auto Worker father, she is the first in her family to go to college. She is passionate about making sure all Michigan kids have access to great public schools and a shot at their own American dream.


How Effective Collaboration Influences Education Policy

March 19 2012
11:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Kellogg Center, MSU

This session will present an overview of what makes collaboration effective and the role of collaboration on influencing policy.  A case study of Excellent Schools Detroit as presented by the CEO and a team-based activity focusing on various aspects of collaboration are used as learning tools to explore how collaboration can influence direction and outcomes in education policy.

About Excellent Schools Detroit: Excellent Schools Detroit was formed as a coalition of Detroit’s education, government, community, and philanthropic leaders who, in March 2010, released an education plan that recommends bold steps so that every Detroit child is in an excellent school by 2020. The plan calls for Detroit to be the first major U.S. city where 90 percent of students graduate from high school, 90 percent of those graduates enroll in college or a quality postsecondary training program, and 90 percent of enrollees are prepared to succeed without remediation.

EPFP Learning Team Members:
Noel Cole
Lisa Galbraith
Allison McElroy
Rajah Smart


Resource People

Dan Varner, CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit

Dan Varner joined Excellent Schools Detroit as the CEO in 2011.  The Excellent Schools Detroit initiative is a partnership of Detroit's education, government, community, parent and philanthropic leaders that aims to develop a citywide plan that will ensure all Detroit children attend excellent schools.

Excellent Schools Detroit partners hope to take advantage of the community's new sense of urgency and hope; results-driven and accountable school and city leadership; and additional funding from federal, state and philanthropic levels. This includes the $5 billion in federal Race to the Top and innovation funds, which will be distributed to states and school districts that are willing to raise learning standards, improve teaching effectiveness, close chronically failing schools and offer excellent alternatives, and use data to monitor student progress and hold schools accountable for results.

Before joining Excellent Schools Detroit, Mr. Varner served as a program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this role, he worked with the Education and Learning team to develop programming priorities, identifying and nurturing opportunities to affect positive change within communities. He managed and monitored a portfolio of active grants, providing technical assistance to grantees on model development, partnership negotiations, leadership capacity building and coaching.

Prior to joining the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Daniel served as chief executive officer for the youth development organization Think Detroit Police Athletic League (Think Detroit PAL), which he co-founded as Think Detroit in 1996. Earlier in his career, he worked as an attorney in Detroit, Michigan, at the Federal Defender Office and with Sachs, Waldman, O'Hare, Helveston, Bogas & McIntosh, PC.

He earned both a bachelor's degree in history and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan. Mr. Varner has won numerous awards for public service, and currently serves on the board of directors at Think Detroit PAL and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, and is a member of the State Board of Education, appointed by Governor Granholm in 2010.  He has three children, and lives in Detroit, Michigan.

Excellent Schools Detroit

Excellent Schools Detroit was formed as a coalition of Detroit’s education, government, community, and philanthropic leaders who, in March 2010, released an education plan that recommends bold steps so that every Detroit child is in an excellent school by 2020. The plan calls for Detroit to be the first major U.S. city where 90 percent of students graduate from high school, 90 percent of those graduates enroll in college or a quality postsecondary training program, and 90 percent of enrollees are prepared to succeed without remediation.

The citywide plan reflected months of discussions and deliberations, as well as a series of community meetings, youth focus groups, small group discussions with multiple stakeholders, and other efforts. It is also based on research about successful practices in other cities where education reform and transformation strategies have been documented.

The plan requires the implementation of breakthrough strategies in public will building, talent development, new school creation, accountability, and early childhood, all of which will dramatically improve student achievement in schools of all governance models: traditional public, charter, and private.

The problem we are tackling

According to test results released in 2009, only 2% of Detroit’s high school students are prepared for college-level math, and only 11% for college-level reading.  Likewise, less than 5% of Detroit’s 4th and 8th graders meet national math standards.