A Curriculum Management Guide

Implementing Best Practices

What are Best Practices?

Best Practices are procedures, policies, strategies, or approaches in a particular area that typically have research based evidence to support their effectiveness. Education has adopted best practice in an effort to improve student achievement and produce positive student outcomes. "There has been so much recent talk of progress in the areas of curriculum innovation and textbook revision that few people outside the field of teaching understand how bad most of our elementary school materials still are" (Jargowsky, 1997, p.27).

"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant for the soul of the child" (Jung, Adler & Hull, 2014, p. 12).

What are USA Education Standards?

What is Curriculum?

Curriculum is guided off state and national standards of education. Standards identify specific learning goals that each student must accomplish in order to gain mastery of content in a particular area before advancing in grade level. The national standards are English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Science will soon be included in these standards. Once the standards have been identified, school districts determine how the standards will be adopted and implemented. The process of selecting the appropriate program, how standards are implemented, the materials and criteria needed to teach these standards is referred to as curriculum development. Essentially, curriculum determines what courses each school district offers and the content that must be mastered in each area.

Getting Involved

Curriculum is a complicated process that takes a village if we expect to create curriculum that develops and addresses the needs of the whole child. There are multiple committees that make up the curriculum team and each are made up of teachers and administrators. The District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC) is comprised of approximately 12 people and includes principals, teachers, supervisors, directors, and superintendents. The school improvement panel (ScIP) members sit on all the committees that make up the curriculum team. There is a curriculum committee comprised of about 30 teachers and building administrators who discuss curriculum and instruction, problems that need to be investigated within a particular subject, and overall areas that need improvement. All committees work together in an collaborative effort to improve instruction efforts within the school itself and within the district (T. D'elia, personal communication, February 10, 2016). "The board would then monitor each school's yearly performance as measured against its stated goals" (Ornstein, 2011, p. 226).

Danielson's Four Domains

One example of a curriculum program is Danielson. This particular program is "grounded in a constructivist view of learning and teaching. The complex activity of teaching is divided into 22 components (and 76 smaller elements) clustered into four domains of teaching responsibility" (Danielson Group, 2013).

Addressing Diverse Learner Needs

Addressing the diverse needs of our learners is a critical part in any area of education, particularly, in curriculum development. Students come from diverse backgrounds and bring different ethnicities, cultures, languages, varied learning abilities, and many "at risk" characteristics into each classroom. Teachers are faced with the challenge of teaching these students and meeting them where they are at, not necessarily where they should be, academically. All of these characteristics affect the ability and way in which the student learns and therefore can not be dismissed in developing curriculum phase. One way to address diverse learner needs in curriculum is by using software programs such as OnCourse.
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Needs Assessments & Program Evaluations

  1. For lasting change to occur, the persons to be affected must be involved in the planning the change.
  2. In a bureaucratic environment (schools), change must be directed from the top level of leadership.
  3. Good decisions are best made on the basis of data, and such data should be shared with all those involved in planning.
  4. Evaluation and expectation can drive change efforts forward.

(Wiles & Bondi, 2011, p.93).

An Overview: Curriculum Staples

"Though analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation, curriculum developers set goals, plan experiences, select content, and assess outcomes of school programs" (Wiles & Bondi, 2011, p.6). The process of curriculum development involves collaborations between administrators and teachers at all levels and ultimately "strives to attain a nearly perfect correspondence between the intention and the outcome of instruction" (Wiles & Bondi, 2011, p.71). It is critical to assess and integrate the needs of all learners in order to create a balanced and effective curriculum. Education is not constant and will always adapt to its learners and its environment. Curriculum must mirror this action and always be evaluated for its effectiveness and adapt to meet the needs of its learners and the environment in which they live.

Authors

Natasha Jobbagy, Sean Rutherford, and Ryan Sheridan

CUR 504

February 22, 2016

Dr. Marilyn Hoeflinger