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.
Here we are in May and the end of the year is quickly approaching. The amount of hard work that has taken place with regard to curriculum, instruction, and assessment has, no doubt, seemed overwhelming to those who have participated in the process. But there are also many stakeholders who were not on the Curriculum Coordinating Council (CCC) or a Subject Area Committee (SAC) and who may not fully understand what has taken place.
So, take a moment to “mow the lawn.” Put together some sort of communication, whether it be an article in your district newsletter, an article in the community newspaper, or a video for the district website that highlights district curriculum, instruction, and assessment achievements from the past year. Don’t forget to present this as part of your report to the School Board at the next meeting; it is essential that they see the progress that the district has made!
Some questions to consider when “mowing the lawn:”
- Looking back at our year, what have we accomplished?
- What has been our greatest achievement? In other words, what makes us most proud?
- What role(s) did people play in each achievement?
- What excites us about the opportunities ahead?
To assist in answering these questions, below you will find a list of potential achievements from three stakeholder groups: CCC, SAC, and teachers. Look through each category and highlight the achievements that have been accomplished this year. Use the following lists to highlight the achievements of which you are most proud!
Potential Governance (CCC) Achievements
- Created a set of operating procedures for curriculum, instruction, and assessment work.
- Developed or revised a Long Range Plan to meet the needs of the district and align with state requirements.
- Created or revised the District Mission and Vision statements as a guide for all work within the district.
- Drafted or finalized a mastery statement as a foundation for making decisions regarding curriculum, instruction, and assessments.
- Determined requirements for implementing the curriculum through classroom instruction and assessments.
- Analyzed educational best practices to determine the effectiveness of current grading practices and grade reporting and offered researched solutions for consideration, discussion, and implementation.
- Analyzed educational best practices to determine the effectiveness of extended learning opportunities and offered researched solutions for consideration, discussion, and implementation.
- Prioritized professional development opportunities for upcoming years.
Potential Curriculum and Assessment (SAC) Achievements
- Gathered information from all teachers within a content area about what is currently being taught.
- Interpreted state standards to determine what they really mean.
- Created a Subject Mission based on the desired profile of a graduating student regarding this content area.
- Determined what is essential at each grade level and clarified the horizontal and vertical progression.
- Drafted a guaranteed and viable curriculum to include outcomes and components that are high-priority, grade-appropriate, essential and focused, and are aligned to state standards.
- Revised curriculum according to teacher feedback.
- Drafted common outcome assessments aligned to the curriculum.
- Revised common outcome assessments according to teacher feedback.
Potential Classroom (Teacher) Achievements Related to Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Drafted a Pacing Guide for teaching the curriculum and kept notes that can be used to write next year’s Pacing Guide
- Organized materials and/or gradebook by outcome.
- Used the new/draft curriculum and provided feedback to the Subject Area Committee.
- Created instructional plans in alignment with the current target subject within the district curriculum
- Developed formative assessments to determine if students are ready to move on
- Aligned teacher strategies and student activities to promote student engagement
- Created differentiation and enrichment opportunities to move students toward mastery of curriculum.
- Provided feedback about potential resources with regard to their alignment to the curriculum.
- Used common outcome assessments and analyzed student data to differentiate or revise instructional plans to ensure mastery for all students.
- Provided feedback to the Subject Area Committee regarding the draft common outcome assessments.
Celebrate another successful year!