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Curriculum

Build-A-House: An Educational Analogy

The processes of curriculum, instruction, and assessment schools should use to assure student learning might be compared to the steps of building a house. Let’s look at those steps and compare them to best practices in education… from what is established at the district-level, through all the stages of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, to what is mandated of schools by the state or other accrediting agencies.Read More

Library Standards to Support Your Curriculum

As we begin the month of April, the annual month celebrating contributions of school libraries and staff, Curriculum Leadership Institute would be remiss if we didn’t call attention to the American Association of School Library’s (AASL’s) newly released standards. After reading this E-Hint summary, you may appreciate visiting AASL’s website designed specifically to assist with the understanding and implementation of these standards:Read More

Curriculum: A Catalyst for Change (Part Four)

In the current accountability age in education and looking down the road to compliance with the new ESSA requirements, it is clear that standards-aligned curriculum and assessments will play a key role.  With four years of work behind them, Sheridan County School District #1 (SCSD#1), Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School District #307 (BBCHS#307), and other CLI client districts may be ahead of the curve in terms of being able to demonstrate such alignment, which also puts them on track to be able to meet other provisions of the act.  As the work in these districts continues according to their long range plans, all subject areas will go through the new processes, celebrating the incredible accomplishments and persevering through the bumps and detours in the road.Read More

Curriculum: A Catalyst for Change (Part Three)

Most teachers do not see themselves as curriculum developers, nor believe they have been adequately trained to write valid assessments. Serving on a curriculum committee may seem like a lot of unnecessary work to a teacher initially; however, once they go through the process, they realize that thoroughly studying, clarifying, and organizing standards into units of learning targets and then creating aligned assessments helps them to identify what students need to know and do and how learning will be measured.  Clearly defined learning targets direct teachers’ instruction and student learning. Read More

Curriculum: A Catalyst for Change (Part Two)

Since all district leaders were involved in creating the new vision for the district, they all needed a thorough understanding of the curriculum process and how to implement change. A number of the district leaders were selected to lead subject area committees through their curriculum and assessment work; thereby ensuring a common language and a common way of completing the work. Although facilitators can help districts, there is always much to be done between those visits. Building principals and curriculum staff were needed to provide the necessary on-the-spot feedback and support to keep the process moving forward.Read More

Curriculum: A Catalyst for Change (Part One)

t’s been said that change is the only constant.  This seems especially true in education.  There is always a new initiative, textbook, program, policy, or new personnel coming and going within school districts.   Sometimes it is difficult to preserve continuity in the midst of these types of random and frequent changes, no matter how well intentioned they are.  It’s no secret that the trend in education is to do more with less, which leaves everyone asking the same questions…how and when?Read More

Using Google Sites to Increase Curriculum Implementation in the Classroom

Within the last year, over half a dozen current and former CLI districts have opted to organize their local curriculums using the new CLI Online Curriculum Library, a Google Site template. The benefits for districts using Google (now called G-Suite for Education) are widely known: free email accounts (Gmail), file storage (Google Drive), and file creation (Google Docs). One application that may be underutilized due to time or training constraints is Google Sites. Google Sites could easily serve as your district’s intranet, a closed network only accessible by those within your district.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

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