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Governance & Leadership

Starting the Year Off Right

As we approach the start of another school year, there are many staff members who play a role in the success of the school. A CLI Model district has designated leadership teams with specific roles.  The Curriculum Coordinating Council (CCC) is responsible for making academic recommendations for the district, while Subject Area Committees (SACs) are grade level and/or course representatives designing curriculum, instructional plans, and assessments for a content area. …Read More

The End of the School Year is in Sight

Yes, the end of the school year is in sight. Teachers are worried about finishing the curriculum, checking in books, taking down the posters from the walls, entering grades, and all of their other year-end tasks. Administrators are ticking items off of their own lists and sending out reminders and final instructions for the last days of school even as they contemplate their summer worklists. Everyone is anticipating liberation from this school year. This is a typical ending for many schools across the country. There is just a seemingly abrupt ending followed by a collective sigh.

But, what if it was different?Read More

Systematic Implementation to Achieve a Systemic Vision

In current school accreditation models, the existence of a systems approach is valued and evidence of that approach is necessary for a favorable review. Accreditation teams are looking for indications of examining the whole system as well as documentation on taking care of the details. One accreditation team’s review of a school district stated that “The district has a strong understanding of the big picture but does not seem to have a method of reaching their desired outcomes.”Read More

Using Data to Improve Instruction in Five Steps or Less

Now, review the three essential pieces already mentioned above: curriculum, assessment, and instruction. Begin with the locally-written curriculum. Check the alignment of the curriculum to the state standards; particularly the standard that students performed poorly on. Ask yourself or your PLC these questions: Does the local curriculum require the same skills and knowledge as those in the state standards? Is the “essence” of the standard the same when it was …Read More

Conflict Resolution Techniques for Facilitators

The keys to mediating conflict are to identify the signs of dysfunction, determine when to intervene, and provide the correct guidance to reach a resolution. When issues are more involved, it may require multiple meetings to come to an agreement. Using a systematic approach to meetings is just one dimension of being a good facilitator. To create a positive experience for everyone, facilitators should also be adept at mediating conflict and leading groups to solutions through various questioning techniques.Read More

Initial CLI District Response to 6 Key Elements of the Every Student Succeeds Act

Analysis of relevant elements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) suggests topics of discussion for the CLI district’s curriculum coordinating council. Although those who prepared ESSA say the act places most responsibility for establishing provisions to ensure school accountability on states, many stipulations included at the federal level do not allow much leeway for creativity or alternative interpretations. It is therefore suggested that curriculum coordinating councils place the selected relevant topics found in the table below on discussion agendas. Read More

Curriculum is a Roadmap

“Curriculum” is discussed on a daily basis in conversations within schools among administrators, teachers, support staff, and outside stakeholders. Strangely enough, it is a term that carries fundamental misconceptions that make those conversations difficult. Unless everyone involved in the conversation has the same definition for curriculum, what is said and what is heard are often very different.Read More

The Excitement and Challenge of Beginning a New School Year

Reviewing the status of ongoing initiatives and planning for the current year should become routine. In the years following the development of curriculum documents, the implementation of curriculum, and the writing of assessments, there are often other initiatives that must come into play to further improve student learning. While we at Curriculum Leadership Institute (CLI), caution school districts about starting too many initiatives at once, there is a time and place where outside support for improving instructional strategies, improving the implementation of a new resource, using data analysis strategies to effectively critique our efforts, or other needs must be addressed.Read More

A Handy Guide for Annual Recognition

Recently, another educator used a really great metaphor about taking time to “mow the lawn” now and again. Mowing the lawn is perhaps one of the least hated chores that we have to do. Maybe it’s because freshly cut grass smells so nice or because we also get in a little workout, but very likely it is due to the sense of instant gratification we feel when we take a look back at our progress.Read More

Book Briefing: The Other Side of the Report Card

In honor of School Library Month, this E-Hint is inspired by a new book: The Other Side of the Report Card: Assessing Students’ Social, Emotional, and Character Development by Maurice Elias, Joseph Ferrito and Dominic Moceri (2016). As curriculum developers, we know that academic learning should be thoughtfully planned, and that instruction and assessment should be carefully aligned to standards. However, we may occasionally ask ourselves, “What about the other aspects of development, for example, self-management and social awareness?Read More