Effective Core Instruction

In this Section

This section introduces the Minnesota state ELA Standards, their benchmarks, and their architecture, and provides suggestions on how leaders should introduce them to their staff. It also covers the foundational concepts of UDL and MTSS.

This section provides leaders with a deep understanding of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) a signature concept and initiatives underpinning the implementation of state ELA Standards. UDL and MTSS are presented as the essential pathways to full implementation, and when integrated with fidelity, ensure that standards are accessible to ALL students. Resources are available for supporting administrative understanding as well as introducing the ideas to all staff.

The section also discusses why academic language should be a focus of instruction for all of the ELA standards and other content domains for ALL students across every school day. It also covers the concept of a “data support system” in which a full range of data is collected, held, and accessed on the system-level, group-level, and student -level to assist with decision making.

Leadership is key to all phases of implementation; therefore this section includes a discussion of the function of the implementation team with a special focus on their roles and responsibilities. All of the information within this section will give leaders confidence in preparing their staff for the work ahead.


The first step in each stage of this process is to check understanding of key concepts before moving on. A self-assessment is available which reflects critical activities at the exploration stage that have the greatest likelihood of leading to full and sustainable implementation. Please complete the assessment before moving into the information that follows.

Open the Exploration Self-Assessment.

It is normal to have some critical activities related to the state English Language Arts (ELA) Standards, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), or Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) in exploration while others are being installed or even initially implemented. Use the critical activities listed in the self-assessment to help you complete the exploration stage and to identify the critical activities that are partially completed or for which exploration was skipped.

There may be some concepts that are new or less familiar to your team. We recommend making sure there is shared understanding of implementation and implementation related concepts before moving on. 

Using Results of Self-Assessment

If you indicated that the majority of critical activities listed in the self-assessment have been accomplished, make note of which ones you have remaining and work with your team to address them. For all critical activities that are fully in place, move to the self-assessment in the installation section. Remember, if you skip exploration for any critical activity in the self-assessment, there is a good chance that you will need to revisit it at a later time.

Implementation efforts may fail due to ineffective communication with staff. An effective communication strategy is one that is designed to ensure that all staff:
  • Understand the reasons for implementing the state ELA Standards.
  • Have a vision for how students will benefit from the implementation of the state ELA Standards.
  • Know the plan for implanting the state ELA Standards.
  • Understand the important role they play in the implementation of the state ELA Standards. 

Implementation Concepts You Need to Know
Implementation is not a single event; it is a process. This section explains two key concepts you need to know: implementation stages and implementation drivers. It details the activities that take place in each of the stages, as well as the points of leverage and support that leadership and implementation teams use to measure effectiveness.

We also provide illustrative example documents that articulate activities and behaviors across stages of implementation for initiatives related to MTSS/Response to Intervention (RtI), Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS), the Blueprint for Literacy, and the English Language Development Standards. Reading through these examples can help your leadership team prepare the school’s and district’s infrastructure for all the actions, events, and behaviors within each stage.

Illustrative examples of different initiatives that have stage-based indicators are available below. Select the title to view.

SISEP Implementation Science Webinar Series
(http://sisep.fpg.unc.edu/resources/implementation-science-webinar-series). This site offers a series of four 60-minute webinars, which explore strategies and resources needed to engage and support district implementation capacity. The series is organized around the four Active Implementation Frameworks: Stages, Drivers, Cycles, and Teams.
Getting Started with Implementation Stages (http://implementation.fpg.unc.edu/resources/activity-1-2-getting-started-implementation-stages) is an activity sheet from the Active Implementation Hub containing four critical questions that leaders can consider with their teams as they begin planning for a current or upcoming stage-based initiative.
Implementation Drivers (http://implementation.fpg.unc.edu/module-1/implementation-drivers)
is one of several training modules produced by the Active Implementation Hub as part of its series introducing ACTIVE Implementation Frameworks to districts and schools. This resource introduces Implementation Drivers as the key components of capacity and infrastructure that influence a program’s success and the core components needed to initiate and support classroom, building, and district-level changes.