Curriculum and Instruction News

October 2016

I recently had a conversation with another curriculum director who had also just begun her new role. We were talking about how hard it is for teachers and curriculum coordinators to have enough time with each other to build strong relationships. She said “I want teachers to love the folks in my department. I want to be so useful to teachers that when they see us coming they will be relieved and excited.” I admire her and hope to live up to that standard. Relationships take a lot of time and a lot of conversations before people to get to know each other, understand each other’s goals and priorities, and discover what each has to contribute to the other. The C&I Department is working hard to arrange time and space for lots of important conversations to happen, and to create a framework for capturing our thinking. Teachers are working incredibly hard to make time and space for those important conversations.


-Declan FitzPatrick

Curriculum

K-12 Art, Music, PE Teacher Update

I recently had the opportunity on October 11th and 12th to meet with all the Fox C-6 Art, Music, and PE teachers in three groups. We kicked-off the conversation about why each of our subject areas is important to students and to adults. We talked about the benefits and challenges of having a K-12 aligned curriculum for all subject areas, and we started to lay out units. Each group will get to meet again on PD days and with subs several times this year. The teachers were excited to have the time to talk K-12 and to begin the process of aligning our curriculum. We are addressing the challenges of thinking in assessable units for elementary specials teachers who may see 500 students a week, and secondary teachers who often teach highly specialized classes. Ask your favorite specials teacher what they think of the process.

6th-12th Grade Curriculum Writing Teams

6th-12th English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies Curriculum Writing Teams have all had their first meeting. Each group began with an activity designed to prompt a discussion about “significance” in the curriculum. What makes a particular event, person, or idea significant in the curriculum? Teachers heard an explanation of the vision for curriculum design, and the timeline for the project. Because we are trying to build from what teachers are already doing well, the bulk of the meeting was spent with teachers mapping out their ideal scope and sequence of units for a single course.


All of the curriculum teams are working on outlining the units for the 6th grade curriculum, so that we can provide teachers and students all the resources they need in their first year in middle school. We are discussing what the approach to advanced course-work will look like for each grade-level, beginning with the idea that advanced courses should provide access to content at the next grade-level.

Each description below ends with a link to the presentation from the original meeting. If you see something that interests you, don’t hesitate to contact the C&I staff or one of the member of the curriculum committees.


ELA

The 6th-12th grade ELA Curriculum Writing Team is dealing with balancing the need for core shared texts and independent reading. This team's work is focusing on how can we create a unit structure that ensures that students have similar opportunities across the district, and that students and teachers have equal access to the resources they need while respecting that choice and interest are powerful motivators for independent reading. Junior and Senior teachers had an opportunity to begin this discussions last year, so they are further along in the process than other grade levels.

Secondary ELA 6-12 Curriculum Vision


Science

The first meeting of the Science Curriculum Writing Team coincided with Post-Dispatch article about the top 20 schools on the MAP tests. We had the opportunity to celebrate Fox Middle School’s #1 ranking, and Ridgewood Middle School breaking into the top 20 for the first time.

The major task facing the science team will be to agree on and present to the school board a realigned course sequence. We have to decide whether each year in middle school will present an integrated approach to physical science, life science, and earth and planetary science, or whether it is best to provide students with a year-long exploration of each of these disciplines. At the high school level we are considering which course sequence will create the most opportunities for students to take advanced course-work either in career field or in a college-level work. This will be a major project that will take a multiple years to finally realize.

Science 6-12 Curriculum Vision


Social Studies

The social studies team is considering how to offer as many opportunities to take AP Social Studies courses as possible in high school, and how to properly address US History. The old Missouri standards created an expectation that student would study early US History in 8th grade and recent US History in 10th with World History sandwiched in between in 9th grade. We are discussing a course sequence that would close that gap or provide a unified US/World History approach over multiple years. These are tough conversations that will result in a long term plan to gradually transform our curriculum into a coherent multi-year sequence.

Social Studies 6-12 Curriculum Vision

Professional Development

PD Days

Our next PD Day is Thursday October 27th from 8:00-11:00. Several buildings are utilizing this time for PLC and to help ensure this time is productive and useful for everyone, we would like to share the The Work of PLC's. Remember the key elements of a PLC are the 4 corollary questions:

  1. What do we expect our students to learn?

  2. How will we know if they have learned it?

  3. How will we respond if they haven’t learned it?

  4. How will we respond if they already know it?


Click here for detailed schedule for various buildings and groups.

Federal Programs

Every Student Succeeds Act

SEE WHAT'S NEW IN FEDERAL PROGRAMS as States begin to transition from NCLB to ESSA. Click here to learn more about ESSA and how it impacts students across the country and around the Fox District.

ESL Resources

Are you an educator serving students and families who could benefit from an additional resource for learning English? If so, this tip is for YOU!


The Jefferson County Library provides a free online resource that is accessible from anywhere that has internet access. Anyone who would like to learn English using this resource for free simply needs to visit the Basic ESL website to register and begin the online course. Though this online resource is designed to teach English, it can also serve as a powerful tool for those who speak English but would like to learn another language as well. Once on the site, one simply selects from the various languages displayed across the top of the screen by clicking on the preferred language to begin reading the registration information in that language.

Literacy

Moving Literacy Instruction to the Digital World


A challenge for K-12 educators is finding quality mobile apps and web tools to support literacy instruction. As classroom teachers, we may wish to ask ourselves, “How can an app amplify the work I am doing in my instructional program?” This month’s article focuses on two apps which support conferencing work within literacy. Click here for the full article.

Instructional Technology

Taking a Deep Dive into Technology Integration

The District is in its third year of utilizing student Google accounts and Chromebooks to connect students with each other and digital class content. I’m proud to say that over the past three years, 859 Fox C-6 educators have explored Google Classroom as a way to digitally assign, collect, and return student work. Additionally, educators and students have utilized the power of Google Docs and Drive to create, collaborate, and leave meaningful, real-time feedback on thousands of documents per month. While these are impressive statistics, we have to ask ourselves, what’s next? What can I do to continue to work to use technology as a vehicle to transform learning into an authentic, collaborative experience for students? Click here to read the full article.


College and Career Readiness

ACT Aspire

One way to determine students’ preparedness is through assessment; therefore, we will administer ACT ASPIRE tests to students in grades 6 - 9 during the testing window of October 24-November 4th. Click here to read more about the ACT Aspire test.

Contact C&I