The CES School Benchmarks are designed to address the challenge of helping schools translate the Coalition’s guiding tenets, the Common Principles, into practice by describing what the work of the Coalition “looks like.” The benchmarks are divided into two categories—Classroom Practices and Organizational Practices. Classroom Practices are focused on instruction and address the question “What does a CES classroom look like?” by sharing how each practice is reflected in teacher work and student outcomes. Organizational Practices are those school-wide practices that support and enable the Classroom Practices.
The Benchmarks are intended as a tool for teachers, schools, and centers to support schools as they both plan their program and develop ways of assessing their reform efforts. The indicators within the Benchmarks reflect the Coalition’s principle-based approach to school reform and illustrate best practices and lessons learned in the field and from CES research and professional development. As a reflective and assessment tool, the Benchmarks are intended to be used to focus reflection, to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to guide the work. A powerful way to improve schooling is to include a broad constituency in the conversations about how to use the common principles to create schools where all children reach high standards. A shared purpose allows us to pursue differing strategies to reach agreed upon goals. Sharing these Benchmarks within the school community can allow multiple scheduling, pedagogic, and administrative practices to coexist as long as they are focused on raising overall student achievement.