An exciting initiative has been launched in the Central Valley School District. The initiative will answer three important questions designed to clearly define the curriculum used for student learning:
- What is it that we expect students to learn at each grade level?
- How will we know when they have learned it?
- How will we respond if they don’t?
The Curriculum Frameworks project began in September 2004 with an initial goal to create one-page “Frameworks” summaries of what is taught at each grade level in Central Valley School District schools. The summaries establish expectations and provide a common language across all schools.
Using a district-wide approach, the Curriculum Frameworks project started with every teacher in every elementary (grades K-5) and middle school (grades 6-8) working together to define what is being taught and should be taught at each grade level. Teachers identified what they teach in their classrooms, guided by sample documents from other school districts and the Washington State Grade Level Expectations (GLEs). A smaller group of teachers condensed the information received from each school into short, one-page summaries to clarify learning objectives. These summaries are fine-tuned to answer the first question, “What is it we expect students to learn at each grade level?”
The “Frameworks” summaries for grades K-8 are written in “parent-friendly” language to provide a quick reference tool for parents, teachers and principals. Parents can compare work coming home with what their child should be learning. Principals can observe teachers and quickly determine if the class is on target. And, teachers new to a grade level can use the reference tool to guide their teaching efforts. Although the Frameworks summaries clearly define what is to be taught by grade level, teachers and schools retain the flexibility to determine the methods and sequence used to teach the curriculum.
A parallel effort is underway for grades 9-12. Teachers in Central Valley High School and University High School are developing descriptions and outlines for every course, to establish consistency and clearly define student learning objectives.
Looking ahead, the Curriculum Frameworks project will use the one-page Frameworks summaries and high school course objectives to serve as a foundation to answer the second question, “How will we know when they have learned it?” Again using a district-wide approach, teachers will work together to develop grade level assessments that will eventually be used in all Central Valley schools.
For more information, contact us.