Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Andrea Thompson


The challenges of implementing the Common Core State Standards at the classroom level resulted in political pushback to the reform initiative after the local media covered poor implementation decisions. This study explored how elementary school teachers and instructional leaders described teachers' progress along the implementation continuum for the standards. The concerns-based adoption model served as the conceptual framework for this study. This multicase study design consisted of 16 interviews of teachers and instructional leaders from 4 schools. Data were analyzed through a process that began with open coding followed by axial coding to identify themes. Teacher collaboration driving implementation progress emerged as a theme. The following needs also emerged: (a) training to make the required instructional shifts, (b) common processes to monitor implementation progress, and (c) aligned resources. The results led to a semester-long professional development project pairing a quality improvement process popular in other fields with the existing professional learning community structure to address the problem. This project built on the implementation progress made through working collaboratively to meet the training needs of the teachers; the project also included mechanisms for monitoring teachers' progress in implementing the standards. The project study provides insight and specific steps for teachers and leaders working to implement the standards. Students will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this project study through improvements in their teachers' instructional practice.