College Career Ready Toolkit

A Collaborative Effort to Get It Right

States and districts across the country have adopted college- and career-ready standards. In doing so, policymakers have shown their commitment to prepare all of their students for success after high school, whether they choose to go to college, jumpstart their careers, or enlist in the military. But making college-career readiness a reality will ultimately depend on the understanding and support of the community.

The National School Boards Association and the National Association of Secondary School Principals have partnered with the Learning First Alliance’s Get It Right campaign, a nationwide effort to spur dialogue around the importance of embracing college- and career-readiness standards for all students.

Here’s NSBA Executive Director and current LFA Board Chair Tom Gentzel on why ensuring students are adequately prepared for the 21st century is too critical not to get right

A Toolkit to Kickstart Conversation About College- and Career-Readiness

College and career readiness, now a commonplace expression, represents a massive shift in the expectations of K–12 schools that we are continuing to unpack and understand. High school completion—college and career eligibility—is no longer a sufficient goal. Instead, principals have recommitted to building the human potential of each student in the school so each student is equipped for the future they will eventually lead.
– JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of National Association of Secondary School Principals

News accounts have detailed how there is still a great deal of confusion (and resistance) surrounding these rigorous new standards, including why they are needed and what they look like in practice. You may have even experienced this in your own community.  

On this page, you’ll find short videos, tip sheets, sample surveys and other tools that speak to some of these concerns as well as information and guidance for implementing CCR standards.

Background to Help You Make the Case for Rigorous Standards

The following collection of videos, articles and reports serve as a quick primer on the CCR standards, including a look at how one school district has implemented them in their classrooms. All these materials are free to access and share with your community.




Beyond Fiction: The importance of reading for information (PDF) (NSBA)

The Curious Case of Algebra II (PDF) (NSBA)

Eligible & Ready for College (PDF) (NASSP)

High School Rigor and Good Advice: Setting up students to succeed (PDF) (NSBA)

Predicting Postsecondary Success (PDF) (NASSP)

Understanding the Common Core Standards (PDF) (NSBA)

The Power of Math (PDF) (NSBA)

Path Least Taken: Preparing non-college goers for success (PDF) (NSBA)

Public Opinion Survey: (PPT) (NSBA)


Test Your Knowledge with Achieve’s College and Career Readiness Quiz (Interactive)

Engaging the Community

Now that you have some background on college and career-ready standards, how exactly should you go about engaging the community on the subject? The following resources will help you do that, both from a school board or principal perspective.


College Connection – Alumni Survey Instrument (PDF)


Reflection Questions (PDF)

Organizing Community Conversations (PDF)

Identifying Stakeholders Group (PDF)

Stakeholder Engagement Assessment (MS-Word)

Surveys (PDF)

Putting College- and Career-Readiness Standards into Practice

While many states and districts have already undertaken the task of implementing college and career-readiness standards in their school buildings, improving educational standards and engaging the public is a charge that never truly ends. So whether you’re just beginning or looking to improve your own standards implementation process, here are some tools to help you along the way.

At the school level

Breaking Ranks, A Field Guide for Leading Change (PDF) (NASSP)

At the district level

On the Same Page 2.0, A Field Guide for Implementing College- and Career-Ready Standards through Labor-Management Collaboration (PDF

Supporting Materials

Collaborative Practices to Support English Language Learners (PDF) (NASSP)

Supporting English Language Learners (PDF) (NASSP)

Supporting Students’ College Dreams (PDF)

College Readiness/Work Challenge (PDF) (NASSP)

Combining Teacher Engagement & Student Dreams (PDF) (NASSP)

Gearing Up for College Readiness (PDF) (NASSP)

How to Improve CCR at Urban Schools (PDF) (NASSP)

Missing Pieces of CCR (PDF) (NASSP)

Boosting CCR (PDF) (NASSP)

Predicting Postsecondary Success (PDF) (NASSP)

The Communications Toolkit is a collaboration of the National School Boards Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Learning First Alliance’s Get It Right campaign.

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