Auburn-Washburn USD 437
Community Curriculum Portal
Table of Contents
Our Curriculum Development Process
Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
Auburn-Washburn USD 437 believes that a guaranteed and viable curriculum is our promise to our students, community, and colleagues that we will provide an exemplary and world-class education. While this may seem "over-the-top," when followed as it is designed, the curriculum has enormous power. We believe that a tightly-aligned curriculum, taught by teachers who have deep knowledge of the curriculum and who can assess it to provide meaningful instructional feedback, can provide a world-class education for all learners.
In our district, we use a written curriculum document as the foundation of what is to be taught in the classroom. When writing the document, we use a collaborative process to develop the curriculum, developing a deep understanding of learning expectations through unpacking, and prioritizing the learning to guide teachers to effectively and efficiently teach and appropriately target interventions. The information on this website focuses on the curriculum development processes outlined in the "We WRITE It" portion of the curriculum triangle.
Most importantly, a viable written curriculum provides a usable document teachers use as a guide for teaching. This teaching occurs using the district's instructional sequence and best practices with planning and instruction driven by the written curriculum. When our "best first shot" is not enough for some learners, we use response to intervention to identify skills in need of support and provide necessary interventions. Our interventions are based on prioritized curriculum and student skills development.
To determine how much our students are learning, both during and following a unit of instruction, we conduct common assessments based on our prioritized curriculum. Since Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) use curriculum as a basis of questions one (What do we want students to learn?) and two (How do we know if they know it?), conversations about data are based on common curriculum and curriculum common assessments, making collaboration useful and efficient. Finally, because our curriculum is tightly-aligned to state standards, state assessments will provide us useful and actionable data.
Figure 1, see below, illustrates the importance of a guaranteed and viable curriculum and how it informs our instructional system in Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
Curriculum Development Process
Our curriculum revision process is a standards-driven, assessment embedded, inclusive process for aligning local curriculum to standards in all disciplines. While generally a linear process, components of this process may be adjusted or interchanged. The goal of the process is deep alignment, with every teacher understanding the intention and the context of each indicator in the standards document to an extent which allows him or her to effectively implement the curriculum. The components of the process are as follows:
Curriculum development need is identified: Changes to state standards, ongoing review, or the need for new instructional programming dictates a need to develop new or revise existing curriculum.
Establish a curriculum work group: A collaborative curriculum work group will be established to undertake the curriculum development process (steps 3-11) in collaboration with a Curriculum Coordinator. The size of the work group is dependent upon the scope of the curriculum work:
A District Curriculum Committee (DCC) will be established for major curriculum development projects.
A smaller work group, ranging from one or two teachers to a departmental PLC, will be established for more localized curriculum development projects. This is typically the case with new secondary courses.
Unpack standards and develop expanded curriculum: A process is followed that asks teachers to deeply explore each of the standards, identifying the standards' constituent parts while determining what is necessary to teach the standard effectively. This unpacking becomes the basis of expanded curriculum documents that allow teachers to more fully understand and apply the standard to instructional planning.
Develop learning objectives: Each standard is further divided into learning objectives. These learning targets help teachers identify the specific learning that will should occur in their classrooms. The learning targets become the basis of summary curriculum documents, student-friendly language documents that allow teachers to more effectively plan as well as communicate to students learning expectations.
Prioritize learning objectives: Learning objectives are prioritized based on opportunity, endurance, and leverage within the curriculum.
Board of Education approval of curriculum: The summary curriculum (prioritized learning targets) is then presented to the USD 437 Board of Education for approval, allowing for members of the public to review and engage with curriculum.
Identification and selection of instructional resources: Potential resources supportive of the curriculum are identified and reviewed by groups of teachers on a rubric, and a final recommendation is made to the Board of Education for consideration and approval.
Board of Education approval of instructional resources: The Board of Education reviews all instructional resources and, according to Board Policy, no instructional materials lacking Board approval are authorized.
Implementation planning: The work group will explore materials and curriculum through district professional development opportunities to develop an implementation plan for the curriculum. In addition, instructional models supportive of the curriculum and based on current research and promising practices will be developed. Implementation plans not only provide guidance to instructional staff for curriculum implementation, they also identify professional development opportunities and teacher needs.
Implementation of the curriculum: Teachers will begin teaching the curriculum using district instructional models.
Conduct ongoing professional development: Professional development in the new curriculum and its implementation begins early and is continuous throughout the process.
Evaluate effectiveness of curriculum and implementation: Using the Program Evaluation Protocol, all aspects of the curriculum development process will be reviewed and evaluated. Resulting from the program evaluation, adjustments, improvements, and modifications will be recommended and implemented as necessary.
District Curriculum Committees
District Curriculum Committees (DCCs) are groups of teachers who come together to create curriculum and implementation plans during significant curriculum development initiatives. In many ways, DCCs function as would specialized Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Teachers selected are those willing to build and expand skills and knowledge of the relevant content area and who can be expected to facilitate a portion of the implementation and professional development of the newly-composed curriculum.