E-Hints are short, easy-to-read posts that educators may find relevant to their school improvement processes. You might find an E-Hint on the latest research about a topic, a new approach to an instructional technique, or a “what works” tip from another school district. You are welcome to download E-Hints and share them with others within or outside your district.
Check out our recent E-Hints below!
Districts are challenged more and more to develop or maintain a systemic culture for curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Very often, the first challenge is in determining the extent to which a systemic culture exists and in this E-Hint, our goal is to give you the questions and some tools to figure out where your district is and what steps might help move you closer to solving the challenges of establishing a systemic culture.
It is a familiar scenario and solution. The pressure is felt to improve reading skills to score higher on standardized tests. Elementary teachers can’t extend the school day, so they borrow time from a content area which doesn’t have a state assessment or one not as often. Social studies and science take a backseat.
We’ve all heard it. Kids talking about their schedules like this, “Yes! I’m going to get an A in math this year because Ms. So-and-so is so easy!” Or, “Dangit, science is going to be so hard. I got Mr. Tough-stuff, and he doesn’t let anything slide.” As teachers, you never want to be considered the easy teacher, but you also don’t want to be the hard teacher that the students dread. But, what if there was no easy teacher or hard teacher, and all learning environments were equally fair? Here are three ways to even the playing field for your students so that the “teacher lottery” becomes less varied.
As the summer break from the classroom challenges continues, it is time to reflect on how to best prepare novice and new teachers for the school year ahead. After hiring a teacher, a school district has an obligation to make every effort to assure the students assigned to the new teacher’s classroom will have the best possible opportunity to learn and grow.
Most school districts have a “cycle” for revising curriculum, so that each subject is reviewed every five to six years. The first cycle takes the longest because the curriculum must be created – a Subject Area Committee (SAC) must make decisions about what is most important and what will be required of all students. Subsequent cycles usually take less time because our starting point is the existing curriculum, which has been implemented and assessed for a period of time. However, there are still several considerations to be made as a curriculum is reviewed anew.
Examine any state standards document closely and you will find a statement similar to this one from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, page 5: “These standards do not dictate curriculum or teaching methods.” If all states and all content areas agree that you should not be using the state standards document as your curriculum, the first question you must answer is, how are your state standards being used within your district?
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