SAU 50 Curriculum Overview                                                                   Adopted: September 2016

The curriculum in SAU 50 has been developed by the teachers responsible for instruction and assessment of that area. All curriculum was developed through the Understanding by Design process. It begins with “the end in mind” starting with how we want students to apply and demonstrate their learning and planning backwards from that ultimate outcome or competency. Therefore, our curriculum is competency based.

An illustration of a competency based system is driving. There are standards associated with driving, such as basic vehicle operation, basic vehicle maneuvers, rules of the road, signs, and signals, to name just a few. In order to meet those standards, someone must have essential skills and knowledge. The diagram below illustrates this.

In the same way, teachers have taken the standards and decided what are those essential skills and knowledge needed to master that standard. Those skills listed as “I Can” or “Students Will” statements are the learning targets posted in each classroom for daily lessons. You will see those listed in the curriculum documents under the Acquisition section as these are skills and knowledge students need to acquire and demonstrate.

In learning and being ready to drive, one would never stop at just meeting the standards. The ultimate goal of meeting those standards is to be a driver and actually go driving, to demonstrate and apply that learning in a variety of situations and contexts. Therefore, the ultimate application and demonstration is the competency of being a safe and responsible driver. The following illustrates the connection.



Likewise in education, the ultimate goal is to have students apply and demonstrate their learning. We want them to “go driving.” Teachers have looked at each subject and unit students would be learning and have determined the competencies. In each instance, teachers asked how students would use that learning in their lives currently and in the future.The current use is very important as we want students to understand the relevance of what they are learning. 


All curriculum documents follow the same format based on the Understanding by Design structure.  The documents look the same for each curriculum area and address essential skills and knowledge, standards, competencies, and essential questions.  Note, all the information in the curriculum, with the exception of the standards and definitions, was written by the educators of SAU 50.




Definition of subject

SAU 50 Curriculum

SAU 50 District Competency:


How students will apply and demonstrate their learning in new situations and contexts.


Essential Questions


Questions that promote deeper thinking about the topic.




Essential skills needed to master the standards in that subject.


The curriculum is based on New Hampshire’s College and Career Ready Standards and national standards. National standards are those written by national organizations and are available for anyone to use. These standards are not written nor required by the federal government. Examples include the C3 Frameworks for Social Studies, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and Next Generation Science Standards.


Key to Standard Notation: How standards are identified in the original documents.


Links are included to the original documents for further information.