Equitable Professional Development That Lifts All Teachers


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Concourse Village Elementary School is a public K to 5th grade elementary school in the Bronx, New York with a total student enrollment of 356.


At Concourse Village Elementary School, ensuring equitable student learning outcomes was the top priority. Leaders recognized the need to provide teachers with a library of resources to establish school-wide learning expectations and create a universal academic language for all students, regardless of grade level, content area, or teacher expertise. After realizing a need for a product that provides vertical standards alignment for teachers, a preference for a rubric-driven and professional development-based learning program arose.


Exemplars robust Library of resources, including rubrics, which aligned to state and school standards, captured Concourse Village Elementary’s attention through its ability to norm problem-solving processes, regardless of grade level. Exemplars was so integral to Concourse Village Elementary’s work, in fact, that teachers met to analyze every Exemplars task being used each year to determine their interdependence and vertical alignment across the school.

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The Challenge

Leaders at Concourse Village Elementary School recognized that a lack of resources to ground their work and norm language around analyzing student work samples became a crucial problem to resolve. Across the school, teachers lacked access to high-quality work samples and rubrics that would allow the school to have a common set of expectations for determining different levels of student mastery, which disproportionately affected their students.

Choosing Exemplars

Understanding that the school employed teachers with different levels of expertise, it was imperative to find a resource that would supply all teachers with a common language when defining characteristics of high-quality student work. Exemplars ample Library of rubrics and assignments, combined with the strong underpinning of literacy throughout the program, provided Concourse Village Elementary School with a strong initiative to boost the quality of instruction throughout the school. Teachers of all levels expressed high regard for the resources within Exemplars and even adopted Exemplars rubrics to outline key factors for student success, no longer needing to create their own, leading to each student being held to the same standard of excellence across the school.

The Outcome

Soon after utilizing Exemplars, teachers began to norm criterion for problem-solving procedures. As a result, Concourse Village created common sets of expectations for student work samples within each grade level and content area. Students quickly became experts in using problem-solving procedures, and coupled with the embedded professional development for teachers, the quality of student constructive responses improved drastically. Exemplars Library of resources provided teachers with expectations for how students would show their thinking through their work and utilize problem-solving procedures to find accurate solutions. Teachers continued to be amazed at the quality of conversations students had during peer feedback cycles as they utilized accompanying rubrics from Exemplars to analyze their work.

"I really wanted to find something that would support the teachers."

Alexa Sorden
Founding Principal

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School Profile:

Population Density: Urban*
Size: 356 K–5 Enrollment
Math Proficiency: 82%*
Free and Reduced Lunch: 85%
*Source: niche.com