Is the Institute a place, as in a school?
The Curriculum Leadership Institute (CLI) has offices in Emporia, Kansas, but CLI is not a training site. The Institute is an organization for conducting ongoing research, and for providing on-site services associated with improving public, charter, and private school districts. As an institute, CLI is much different from regional service centers and other organizations that assist school districts with improvement strategies developed elsewhere. CLI consultants actively contribute to improving the CLI Model to connect proven theory to quality practice.
How did the Curriculum Leadership Institute get started?
The CLI was developed in at Emporia State University’s Center for Educational Research and Service (now the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence) in the late 1980s. Its original school improvement model was created from research which suggested the need to provide direction and processes to comply with educational mandates and, ultimately, to improve teaching and learning nationwide.
For more about the background of CLI, including our mission, click here.
What makes the CLI Model different from other school improvement processes?
The foundation for the CLI Model is academic program governance, which is a decision-making and action-taking system for school districts, that is based on solid organizational theory and practice. That process is different from what is practiced in most schools and districts today, so those interested in using the CLI Model are asked to modify their internal management culture. The model is not a quick, easy solution to immediate concerns; it is a comprehensive strategy that takes time to establish.
It also provides processes from various researches and researchers into a single Model to avoid the need for contracting with multiple outside consultants.
Further, through the governance process, CLI also leads district staff through the process of aligning instruction and assessments to the local curriculum in ALL subject areas. Not only the core subjects.
Do you have already-created curriculums that we can buy?
No. CLI helps districts create their own curricula, aligned with state and national standards. This way, districts can determine and honor priorities and maintain a local voice.
What are some typical issues you’ve helped districts address?
The CLI Model includes processes for addressing most issues that may arise. Examples of the more common issues include:
- ensuring that the district has a teachable curriculum for all content areas.
- defining what mastery means for their district (not to be confused with mastery learning).
- addressing grading and reporting issues including research about best practices.
- interpreting standards so the curriculum can be accurately aligned.
- creating, updating, and maintaining long-range plans.
- converting from site-based to district-based management.
- effectively using data and implementing professional learning communities.
- creating a board policy for curriculum, instruction, and student learning.
- creating or updating a District Assessment System including the use of local assessments.
- assuring that instruction is deliberate and aligned.
Do we have to go somewhere to attend one of your workshops, or will you come to us?
Occasionally we conduct open-enrollment workshops, which are open to anyone and held at a location the CLI staff has selected. However, the majority of our workshops are held on-site for districts that have asked us to work with them locally.
If you are interested in having us present a workshop in your district, please contact us.
How long does it take to complete the full CLI Model?
Curriculum, instruction, and assessment are on-going processes that constantly evolve and improve, so the answer to this question might be “forever.” However, if we’re talking about training, start-up processes, and making sure a district is well on its way to success, we ask for a minimum four-year commitment.
If you’re interested in just the curriculum development portion of our model, this typically takes around eight days in the first year and two the second. For more information about our Curriculum Development service option, please click here.
How can we justify using CLI assistance if we already have a local curriculum coordinator?
CLI works hand-in-hand with the local curriculum coordinator to implement the CLI Model and put processes in place that they can maintain without CLI help once they’re ready. It is understood by all stakeholders at the beginning of our relationship that the CLI consultant will “work their way out of a job” after about four years, and that the curriculum coordinator will see to it that processes are continued.
Curriculum coordinators oftentimes have many duties and may find it difficult, or impossible, to create systems and processes and to complete curriculum, instruction, and assessment work. A CLI consultant can save you time and reduce stress by bringing the systems and processes to your district.
Why can’t (shouldn’t) we just use state standards as our curriculum?
The standards are, of course, a foundation of your curriculum. However, many of them include vague terminology that is open to interpretation, making aligned instruction and assessment virtually impossible. Other standards are “benchmarked,” which means they are in grade-level clusters, with no clear direction for who does what. Most standards are also too vast… too great in number or scope for real learning to occur. It is important for educators to work together to analyze, interpret, and make decisions about the standards and the district’s actual expectations. The CLI model is currently being used in many districts in order to translate documents such as the Common Core Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, local standards, and other external measures into curriculum.
For more information about CLI and state standards, click here.
Why shouldn’t we just use a textbook or program as our curriculum?
Textbooks are written and published by companies who are looking to meet the broad needs of educators nation-, or even world-, wide. It is very rare that you’ll find a textbook series that will exactly meet the specific needs of your district. In many cases, there is not enough time in the school year to successfully teach all of the content in a textbook. Therefore, you must determine what your needs are prior to adopting resources so that you can make the best choice. Textbooks, programs, and resource should support learning, your locally-written curriculum should drive it.
How can CLI help us improve our test scores?
By showing you how to have an aligned, teachable curriculum, with aligned, deliberate and focused instruction, and aligned effective assessments. Additionally, we help you establish a governing body to deal with all of the related questions and issues that accompany this triangle.
Is the CLI Model compatible with other recognized school improvement models?
CLI can incorporate a wide range of popular techniques associated with upgrading the quality of curriculum, instruction, and assessment of student learning. However, CLI is extremely systemic and systematic in the way it works with those three aspects of a district’s functions, so it emphasizes the need for powerful and ongoing connections between and among all stakeholders and program elements. As a general rule, the CLI Model is more encompassing than other models, so districts are able to incorporate much of what was previously done to upgrade academic programs.
Do we have to throw out what we’ve done before and start all over again?
Absolutely not! When implementing the CLI Model, we analyze where you are now to maintain the good things that are already working and to determine areas for improvement.
How are district administrators and board members involved with the CLI process?
More than other school improvement models, CLI emphasizes the importance of academic leadership at all levels in the district. While teacher leadership is certainly an important element, administrators and board members appreciate the expanded opportunities they receive to do more than manage the district’s budget, personnel, facilities, legal affairs, community relations, and other routine aspects important to a large organization. School improvement initiatives at the national and state levels stress the importance of focusing on student learning as the most important mission of schools, and the systemic actions advocated and implemented by the CLI make that possible.
How do I begin working with CLI?
- Schedule an appointment via phone or Zoom to discuss your specific needs.
- Allow us to customize a plan for your district.
- Let us help you execute our plan!