The Curriculum Chronicle

February 2019

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District PLC @ Lincoln

District PLC will be held February 13 from 2:45-3:45 @ Lincoln Main.

2600 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315

I will be out of the state this time. I have asked that the elevator be unlocked. Please be on-time and courteous of your space. There is much to discuss with your teams! Your facilitator will take attendance in IC as well as on paper. If you need to be absent, you are required to submit the appropriate leave-request with your administrator.

Your grade level facilitator has tailored the days discussion to meet your needs. You will be hearing from them directly with what resources you need to bring and your specific outcomes for the afternoon.

Room assignments are as follows:

ELA 6 3480

ELA 7 3200

ELA 8 3460

E1 3150

E2 3490

E3 3210

E4 3470

AP 3140

Journalism 2280

Reading 3130

Curriculum Vision Moving Forward:

The curriculum team has engaged in our own visioning process for what a high quality curriculum should look like and have created a 4 year plan to enact these changes fully throughout all grade levels and contents. This vision includes a focus on culturally proficiency, social emotional instructional connections, and performance assessment. The guides, as they currently exist, do not easily translate into a consistent student experience and it is the hope that a new format will provide clarity around common student outcomes. The grading scales we have will remain, we are simply adding more clarity around our agreed upon paths of inquiry in order to reach those outcomes.

There will be multiple ways to engage in the revision process and I encourage EVERYONE to share their thoughts. Thank you for your thoughtful participation in the effort to improve the enacted curriculum throughout DMPS!

While it is my goal to make minor adjustments to ALL guides this year, not all courses will be moving to the new format at the same time. My proposed timeline is below:

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Curriculum Revision Input Options & Needs

  • Building PLC: Due to our snow day 1/23, I sent an email with a request for you to begin this conversation with your building PLC teams to bring back to our next district meeting on 2/12. Each building has a nuance to the work that I want to honor. Please have your current draft of the curriculum update form ready to share at Lincoln 2/12.

  • District PLC: Each district PLC will begin the process of collecting group feedback around needed updates and changes to current guides. The PLC facilitator will capture the group feedback on a common form and return to Elizabeth. This will be the basis of our conversation in specific revision teams in April.

  • Individual Form: Teachers who wish to complete a feedback form individually, or for electives that do not meet in district PLC, please save a copy of the feedback form in the following way: Lastname.course and return to Elizabeth Sheridan before Spring Break. All individual forms will be reviewed alongside the group feedback. This is strongly encouraged for elective courses that do not meet as a regular district PLC.

  • Revision Team: Teams who elect to join in April/May will assist in making final decisions with regards to topics, essential questions, and Topic Scale guiding narratives. This is NOT limited to 1 individual per building. Any invested teacher is invited to sign up. I would like to see broad representation of perspectives as we look to build a clearer and more supportive guide. Please sign up through the link below.

Achieve 3000 Training Options

Nicole Tennant from Achieve 3000 will again be in Des Moines February 19-21. Many schools/teachers have indicated they are interested and I am working on the best schedule to accommodate everyone's needs. Please respond directly to me if you would like to be added to the schedule. Any user, novice- expert, can benefit from individualized time with Nicole.

These are in-building supports and Nicole will travel to you.

Tuesday, February 19

8-10 Hoyt


1-3 Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 20



1-3 Hiatt

Thursday, February 21

8-10 Weeks


1-3 Orchard Place

Novel Requests: Past, Present & Future

PAST: When you are finished with books from 1st semester, please box and initiate a transfer back to Central Stores so we can properly bar-code and count these materials. Any materials you are clearing out of your building should follow this process. Need help? Let me know!

PRESENT: Book orders should be complete. If something you have ordered through me is still missing, please let me know immediately.

FUTURE: If you are still searching for materials, please review the attached spreadsheet. Bobbi Speer and I are continually updating and revising this list to provide accurate titles and counts. If you would like a book from this list, you may initiate the transfer request through Infinite Campus or you may email me personally and I will do so.

***Please note the tabs on the bottom. we have bar-coded sets, loose stock, and now a tab for what I'm calling a "small reader". These are short chapter books listed for grades 3-6. They would be a great option for some of our struggling readers or ELL/SPED lit.circles.

Local Contests and Opportunities:

The Polk County Bar Association Law Day Competition

The Polk County Bar Association & ARAG sponsor a Law Day competition each year to celebrate the constitution and help students learn about civics. This year's theme is the timely topic of Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.

We invite your students to enter our competition. We have several categories that allow the students to express their creativity and learn more about the legal system (and win some prizes!). The winners will be invited to a luncheon and award ceremony at the Iowa Judicial Branch Building. I have attached the competition materials.

The deadline to enter is March 29th, 2019.

We also have local attorneys and judges who are volunteering to visit your classrooms to discuss the theme (or the constitution or legal system in general) with the students.

See the pdf below for entry details.

Iowa Reading Association Creative Writing Contest

The Iowa Reading Association is sponsoring our annual Young Authors Short Story & Poetry Contest for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade during the 2018-19 school year. Entries must be submitted by February 14, 2019. Please see the attached link and PDF for more information and how to engage your students in this great opportunity.

Inaugural DSM Book Festival

In an effort to constantly engage ourselves as well as our students in the culture of reading and the reading of culture, I wanted to share an upcoming opportunity to engage with local, regional, and best-selling authors. There sounds like a wealth of opportunities for our students to participate and may be a way to capture the attention of some reluctant readers.

Sounds like a real-world way to engage students in online book clubs (or mirror this in your classroom), contests, poetry slams and more!

I encourage you to check out the article and link below for more information! I'll be following this for updates as well!