Curriculum & Instruction Update

Upper Perkiomen School District

A Focus on Excellence

We believe all students can learn, and it is our duty to ensure that all students do learn. We accomplish this by developing a comprehensive, integrated approach that provides system-wide support to schools, families, and the community.

The Upper Perkiomen School District has a history of commitment to excellence in education. The Board of Education and district citizens have endorsed this commitment by supporting the development, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum and the instructional program. Administrators and staff members have worked together to design and implement instructional programs which will meet the many and diverse needs of students from kindergarten through grade twelve. While there are many reasons to be proud of the district’s instructional program, excellence demands a dedication to continuing evaluation and improvement.

This newsletter is intended to share current and future curriculum and instruction program changes and additions, as well as, highlight staff members who embrace the district mission and vision.

Elementary Literacy & Math Practices

In the 2017-2018, elementary teachers and principals at Upper Perkiomen have fully adopted new resources in math and literacy in grades K-5. EveryDay Math is fully aligned to the common core state standards and teaches real life mathematical applications in place of simple calculations. Students are taught to collaborate with others and engage in a wide variety of problem solving strategies. Calling on previous experiences, through EveryDay Math, students connect their prior knowledge with new mathematical concepts. Mathematical fluency is fostered through the use of oral practice, conceptual activities and games.

Benchmark Literacy, fully adopted K-5 this school year, focuses on a balanced literacy approach to reading. Also fully aligned to Common Core Standards, Benchmark Literacy teaches students to respond to text-dependent questions through comprehension- focused instruction. Students read a variety of different genres and have access to leveled texts to progress "up the staircase of complexity". Benchmark exposes students to rich academic vocabulary and Reader's Theater allows students to improve their listening, speaking and fluency skills.

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year and continuing through this year, Upper Perkiomen School District elementary level teachers and administrators have partnered with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit to engage in high quality professional development in the areas of balanced literacy and the standards of mathematical practice. Our teachers are taking a deep dive into how young students learn to read and problem solve. We look forward to continuing to support our the skills of our teachers and the academic growth of our individual teachers.

Secondary Math & ELA Practices

Middle and high school math and ELA departments are continuing to refine their curriculum maps as we focus on the transition to the PA Core State Standards. In recent years, our ELA department has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Literacy Network to receive professional development in the adolescent learner and the four lenses of learning. You can learn more about the Penn Literacy Network here. Middle and high school teachers realigned their curriculum maps in order to ensure all students have access to high interest reading materials while still reading the classics. In mathematics, our middle school team has fully adopted College Preparatory Mathematics in all grade levels. Our high school team has adopted Carnegie Learning resources for Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry. Both programs challenge students to engage in inquiry based learning, in which students explore solutions to real life problems. As we continue to refine our instructional practice, our math and ELA teams will collaborate as colleagues to engage in ongoing professional development.

Looking to the future, the ELA and math teams will be working to ensure all assessments are common and aligned to the PA Core State Standards. This framework will allow us to identify individual and classroom strengths and weaknesses and provide targeted instruction in those areas. Teachers will also work to finalize a standards aligned scope and sequence for all courses and grade levels. With a completed scope and sequence document, administrators and teachers will be able to identify gap areas and work to remediate any deficiencies.

Our curriculum review cycle is a systematic process that models continuous improvement meant to ensure that all students in the district receive an education that is meaningful, relevant, and of the highest quality possible. The curriculum review process supports the district's mission, vision and goals and enables all students to pursue their post-secondary aspirations.

Over the summer, the office of curriculum and instruction worked diligently to establish and upgrade the Upper Perkiomen School District Curriculum Review Framework. We were excited to share our goals for curriculum and instruction for this coming school year with our curriculum assistants.

  • Create a scope and sequence for each course and grade level K-12
  • Develop a collaborative mission for each K-12 department
  • Provide standards- aligned common assessments and develop a five year action plan in Math and ELA K-12
  • Develop a five year action plan, engage in deep research on best practices and complete curriculum maps in K-12 Science
  • Launch our K-12 Music and Art teams into phase one of curriculum review

It will surely be a busy year, but we are confident that our hard work will pay back dividends to our students, teachers and community members. To find out more about the UPSD curriculum review process, click on the title above.

Upper Perkiomen School District is better engaging students by providing stronger connections to the educational needs and interests of individual students; opening new opportunities to personalize and tailor academic content and wrap-around student supports; challenging students with rigorous courses, using innovative approaches and strategies to restructure the scope and time spent learning; and employing innovative educational technologies, project-based learning, and competency-based progressions to engage and empower learners. These strategies will equip our students with the strong content knowledge, collaboration opportunities, and critical skills needed to meet the demands of an innovation economy, while preparing them to embark upon a lifetime of learning.

One approach to meet the needs of students in our community is the new Upper Perkiomen Personalized Learning Program which is available for students in grades 6-12. Through a partnership with Edgenuity, Upper Perkiomen School District now offers a fully online cyber program to our middle and high school learners. Students will have the ability to work on their coursework at home, at the the local library or any other internet accessible location. PA core aligned courses are offered in all core content areas as well as elective areas and are taught by state certified teachers. Students can select a fully asynchronous online course load or create a blended schedule, in which students access some face to face courses at Upper Perk. We are pleased and excited to offer this specialized program to accommodate individual student needs. Click on the title above to find out more about our program. Reach out to Allison Stephens at 215-541-2449 or for further information.

Employee Spotlight

Mrs. Beth Bianco- 5th Grade Hereford Elementary

Mrs. Bianco has been pushing the limits of student thinking for quite some time. Looking for new and innovative ways to peak student interest, Mrs. Bianco collaborates with her colleagues to integrate STEM principles into her everyday practice. We are so proud to have her on our team at Upper Perk!

In the pictures above, fifth grade students at Hereford are taking their learning to a new level, by applying new understandings in Science and Math to real-life experiences. By taking advantage of the school's facility and technology resources, students are able to explore the practical applications of their learning. Fifth grade students were excited to manipulate and measure speed by coding Ozobot tracks. Ozobots are tiny robots that can be programmed to follow tracks created by a special marker. Students were able to make connections between mathematical concepts and coding programs. The greenhouse is also being used to apply learning about variables in science experiments. Students collect, graph, and interpret data from their greenhouse experiments in math class.