Curriculum and Instruction Updates
Resource for Bellingham's Instructional Staff
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
NEW! 2018 Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework, adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on June 26, 2018.
With the release of these new frameworks, we will spend this current year reviewing the documents and attending any DESE provided training that become available. DESE has indicated that Phase 4 of their roll out of these frameworks is for district curriculum adjustment and implementation from July 2018-July 2020.
Over the summer, I attended a Civics Institute with several of our Grade 8 teachers. These teachers will be adjusting their courses to meet the frameworks for eighth grade civics THIS YEAR.
Classroom teachers are encouraged to begin to familiarize themselves with the new frameworks and are welcome to explore new learning opportunities for themselves and their students. We will launch a formal curriculum review for History and Social Science in the summer of 2019.
K-5 Math Pilot Update
After a thorough review of three programs listed below, the Math Pilot Planning Team has identified our two pilot programs.
Bridges In Mathematics The Math Learning Center
Eureka Great Minds
Ready Math Curriculum Associates
During the 2018-19 school year, we will be piloting Bridges and Ready Math in all at each grade level, K-5. We will not be using ThinkMath moving forward.
Which classrooms/teachers are piloting which program? All classes are piloting.
Several factors were taken into consideration while deciding how many classrooms and which teachers would pilot. Early on, teachers were solicited for their interest in piloting. Twenty three teachers expressed interest via the survey and later more verbally! While working with the programs to understand their pilots, we identified that two classrooms at each grade level where needed to pilot each program.
Given the number of teachers interested, the number of classrooms needed to pilot, and lengthy discussions around logistics, I have decided that it is in our best interest to abandon Think Math completely and have all classrooms K-5 engage in the pilot. It simply became too difficult logistically to have 1 or 2 classrooms/teachers here and there throughout the schools become isolated while we embark on all of this work. Additionally, it has become increasingly obvious to us how outdated ThinkMath has become and it would truly be a disservice to our students to continue with the program while other students have access to such high quality programs.
To help expedite ordering materials, the math pilot team made recommendations and building principals finalized the list of teachers who would be piloting each program. If you have further questions please see your building principal.
Your pilot assignment can be found by clicking on this link:
When will the pilot materials arrive? Mid-August
This will likely take place the week of August 20th.*Update - Ready Math has arrived!
Student workbooks will be included, so you will not have to make copies.
How can I prepare?
Both of the pilot programs provide FULL ACCESS to all of the materials through an online teacher portal. That means, that you can begin reviewing your program as soon as you are ready! Additionally, the Pilot Planning Team has prepared a reference tool for you that identifies where all features of the program. We are sharing that tool with you as well.
If you are piloting Bridges - Start here!
If you are piloting Ready Math - Start here!
How will the District support me in this work?
Professional Development: We are setting up on-site professional development sessions for both pilot groups. Both programs also have extensive online professional development resources, including video tutorials.
Pilot Team Support: The Pilot Planning Team has representatives from all three schools that have been meeting over the summer and are preparing to support teachers in their buildings with the pilot. Additionally, our Math Specialists are all fully invested in the pilot and will be training on both programs so they can be a resource to teachers as well.
Time for Curriculum Work: We will be designating early release PD time, PLC/GLM time, staff meeting time, and several release days over the course of the school year to support the work involved in learning the new programs.
Active Listening: I expect there to be bumps along the way. What is important to remember is that you have a support network to listen to any concerns that arise and there is a team that has committed to the work involved in this pilot. If we need to build in additional supports, I am committed to doing so.
I will provide another Math Pilot Update in August. If you have any questions or need any help creating your trial accounts, please reach out to me directly.
BPS Curriculum Review Process
Math Curriculum News
Spring 2018: Committee Development
Summer 2018: Math program reviews
Fall-Winter 2018 -19: Program pilots
Spring 2019: Identify our program for K-5 and develop a plan for purchasing and PD for 2019-2020.
I am hearing from staff already about this work and programs that they are interested in reviewing. One program that has already caused quite a buzz is a part of i-Ready. We have some samples floating around and this will be one of the programs we review given the high ratings it has received from EdReports. I'm excited about this work and I look forward to working with you to find a program that meets our needs. If you have any questions, please email me.
Let’s talk about Atlas!
Mention Atlas and the responses you will receive range from confusion to frustration. The goal of this post is to provide some clarity and open the lines of communication about the role of Atlas in our District. Let’s begin with defining what Atlas actually is.
Simply put, Atlas is a curriculum management system. The potential of Atlas is enormous and up until now, we have only scratched the surface of what is can do for us.
In order to understand the importance of Atlas, we need to have a clear understanding of curriculum. Curriculum is the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, which includes the learning standards or learning objective we expect the students to meet. Curriculum is articulated through the units and lessons that teachers teach; the assignments and projects given to students; the books, materials, videos, and presentations; and the various methods used to evaluate student learning.
As you can see, curriculum can be considered both a “thing” and a “process”, which makes it very complex to manage. THAT is where Atlas comes in. The tools within Atlas are intended to be used to ensure that we have a high quality aligned instructional system, kindergarten through grade 12. I’d like to see us also use Atlas as a tool to engage in collaborative conversations about our curriculum, share ways to enhance accessibility and to increase student engagement the learning experiences we design.
Redefining how we use Atlas will take some time. First, we need ensure that our staff is adequately trained in how to use Atlas. Second, we need to ensure that Atlas reflects the full scope of our curriculum, K-12, in the core content areas. Once we accomplish this, we will need to establish a schedule of regular reviews to ensure our curriculum remains current and fully aligned. I have created a timeline for this work.
- Development of a Curriculum Review Committee
November 2017-June 2018
- Course/Unit Review Process
January 2018 – May 2018
- Identify and implement professional learning opportunities for teachers
- Curriculum revisions and development
School Year 2018-18
- Develop a permanent Curriculum Committee
As always, I welcome your input and I would love to hear about the kinds of professional learning opportunities you would like to see available in the future. Send me a quick email and let me know if you would be interested in a mini Atlas course for PDPs.
Learning Walks are Coming!
Over the course of the school year, the Instructional Leadership Teams at each school will be conducting Learning Walks. The first round of walks is scheduled to begin this month. I’d like to provide a little information to help our staff to understand the purpose and value of Learning Walks.
Why Learning Walks?
The engine of improvement, growth, and renewal in a professional learning community is collective inquiry. People in such a community are relentless in questioning the status quo, seeking new methods, testing those methods, and then reflecting on the results. Not only do they have an acute sense of curiosity and openness to new possibilities, they also recognize that the process of searching for answers is more important than having an answer. (DuFour 1998, 25)
Learning Walks serve as a progress monitoring tool for our ILTs
Learning Walkthroughs are a systematic and coordinated method of gathering data to inform district- and school- level decision making. They involve establishing a Focus of Inquiry, and then engaging strategically selected teams of individuals in collaborative observations of classrooms with an emphasis on the interactions among teachers, students, and academic content (the instructional core). Learning Walkthroughs can be a powerful means of helping educators learn more about the ways in which instructional practices support student learning and achievement. Evidence from Learning Walkthroughs can inform analyses of other data. For example, teams can compare the relationship between student MCAS scores and what is happening in the classroom. The resulting insight can help clarify and focus the work that is needed to help all students achieve at their fullest potential.
The team-based structure of a Learning Walkthrough encourages collaborative conversations among participants about the nature of teaching and learning. These conversations lead to decisions and actions that are informed by actual classroom instruction. The Learning Walkthrough process, when fully implemented, can yield critical data on instructional practices for use by Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in schools or districts in planning steps for making a significant impact on student learning. As Richard Elmore (2004) found, collaboration raises student achievement, but only when the collaborative work places a primary focus on teaching and learning. Learning Walkthroughs provide a structured, team-based approach to gathering information on instruction and learning within the classroom. Learning Walkthroughs promote organizational learning and the monitoring of school-wide progress in the use of targeted instructional practices.
It is important to note that Learning Walkthroughs are NOT intended to serve as a means of evaluating individual teachers. Rather, Learning Walkthroughs offer educators a systematic way to gather evidence to answer the question: To what extent are we seeing what we expect to see in our classrooms, given where we are focusing our energy and resources?
Source: DESE Learning Walkthrough Implementation Guide
Accessing your District PD Records
Visit the District Website at www.bellinghamk12.org
Click on Employee Information and scroll down to Bellingham PD
Click on Log In
Enter your username (first initial and last name)
Enter your password
(If you forgot your password, click on Forgot your Password to create a new one)
Click on the tab for Records on the left side of the screen
This is also a place for you to view upcoming PD Offerings.
Preparing for the i-Ready Diagnostic
Educator Evaluation System
I-A-4. Well Structured Lessons - Develops well-structured lessons with challenging, measurable objectives and appropriate student engagement strategies, pacing, sequence, activities, materials, resources, technologies, and grouping.
I-C-3. Sharing Conclusions With Students - Based on assessment results, provides descriptive feedback and engages students and families in constructive conversation that focuses on how students can improve their performance.
II-D-3. Access to Knowledge - Consistently adapts instruction, materials, and assessments to make challenging material accessible to all students, including English learners and students with disabilities.
III-B-2. Curriculum Support - Regularly updates parents on curriculum throughout the year and suggests strategies for supporting learning at school and home, including appropriate adaptation for students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.
IV-B-1. Professional Learning and Growth - Consistently seeks out and applies, when appropriate, ideas for improving practice from supervisors, colleagues, professional development activities, and other resources to gain expertise and/or assume different instruction and leadership responsibilities.
Form 1- Educator Plan Form
Forms 2 and 3 - Announced and Unannounced Observation Forms
Form 4 - Evidence Collection Forms
Forms 5-7 - Formative and Summative Evaluations
Form 8 - Educator Response Forms
Your building principal will hold a Supervision and Evaluation training during one of the first staff meetings to review the district expectations for this process.
If you have not been given log-in information or have any difficulty during the year accessing Teach Point, please contact me directly at email@example.com so I can assist.
Changes to Licensure and Educator Preparation Regulations
Summary Now Available on Changes to Licensure and Educator Preparation Regulations:
On June 27, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00), Educator License Renewal (603 CMR 44.00), and Certification of Supervisors of Attendance (603 CMR 13.00). The amended regulations have been filed with the Secretary of State, and the Office of Educator Licensure has already begun to implement them. In order to assist applicants, school districts, sponsoring organizations and other interested parties, ESE has prepared a summary of the changes. In the near future, ESE will be soliciting public comment on new subject matter knowledge guidelines, a panel review process for educators prepared outside of the United States, and guidelines for the new validity period for the Provisional license.
What is the difference between SEI Endorsement and the 15pdp requirement for Recertification?
Who must hold the endorsement?
Who needs to have the SEI Endorsement at the time of renewal is largely based on what subject(s) the educator teaches (core or non‐core) and whether they have any ELL students in their classroom. If the educator is a core academic teacher who had one or more ELLs in their classroom during their district’s cohort training window, they must possess the SEI Teacher Endorsement in order to renew the license.
As of July 1, 2014, educators applying for their first Initial license (specifically core academic teachers of ELLs and principals/assistant principals and supervisors/directors who supervise or evaluate such teachers) must obtain the SEI endorsement. See applicable licenses below:
- Core Academic Teachers (early childhood, elementary, teachers of students with moderate and severe disabilities, English, reading, language arts, mathematics, science, civics and government, economics, history, and geography)
- Academic Administrators (principal/assistant principal or supervisor/director only)
As of July 1, 2016, school districts must ensure that ELLs are assigned to core academic teachers who have obtained the SEI Endorsement, or are required to obtain the Endorsement within a year of the assignment.
Individuals with a core academic teacher license(s) that has been restricted are required to hold the SEI Teacher Endorsement as a licensure requirement in order to renew, advance, or extend the restricted license(s).
This would have happened if you had an ELL student in your class and you DID NOT complete the endorsement class and apply for the endorsement.
What is the 15 pdp requirement?
A minimum of 150 PDPs is required to renew a Primary area license, or a Primary area license that has been deemed Inactive or Invalid.
At least 90 PDPs in content/pedagogy with no less than 60 PDPs in or related to the content area of the educator's Primary area (Content or content‐based pedagogy)
At least 15 PDPs related to SEI or English as a Second Language
At least 15 PDPs related to strategies for effective schooling for students with disabilities and instruction of students with diverse learning styles
The remaining required 30 PDPs may be earned through either “elective” activities that address other educational issues and topics that improve student learning, or additional content, and/or pedagogy
Each educator must have an Educator Plan according to the regulations (603 CMR 35.06(3). An Educator Plan outlines a course of action that an educator will take to pursue goals. Educator Plans include a minimum of one individual or team goal to improve the educator’s professional practice tied to one or more Performance Standards and a minimum of one individual or team goal to improve the learning, growth, and achievement of the students under the educator’s responsibility. The Educator Plan outlines actions that educators will take in order to attain these goals, including but not limited to: professional development activities, self‐study, and coursework, as well as other resources for completing these actions.
The basic difference is the IPDP adds a tracking mechanism for your PDPs, which are not included in your Educator Plan Form. Much of the language in both plans will be identical.