Roxbury Public Schools

Preparing the children of today for tomorrow...

Curriculum Corner: A Message from the Assistant Superintendent

  • Curriculum: What's It All About?

    Posted by Loretta Radulic at 7/24/2014 9:45:00 AM
    As the Assistant Superintendent, there are state and federal reports to be completed, professional training to coordinate, a myriad of meetings to attend, and additional responsibilities that, if listed, might make me rethink my sincere love of this job. At the base of all of the responsibilities is the very foundation of education – the development and evaluation of curriculum. While it is one of the most essential elements to a student’s educational career, its role is often minimized as other more “sensational” topics of education steal the headlines. My goal for the Curriculum Corner is to share some thoughts and insights about curriculum and standards and how they relate to state assessment and your child’s educational experience. 
    For the first little segment, I shall start at the beginning. What is curriculum? What is its purpose? How is it used? 
    Curriculum is designed to ensure that students who graduate from the Roxbury School District will receive a well-rounded education. It provides a road map with the idea that when students complete their educational career, they are ready to become productive citizens and empowered learners. 
    The transition… 
    Curriculum wasn’t always quite as thoughtful as it is now. There was a time when a curriculum might be a list of topics on a page. Years ago, I asked a principal if I could review the fourth grade math curriculum. Chagrined, he handed me a single piece of paper with thirteen topics. Even worse, the title on the page was Math Curriculum, Grades 3 -5. In today’s educational world, that list would never be considered curriculum. Now, we collaborate and deliberate over why we teach what we teach, focusing on the Essential Questions that will be explored in a unit and the Enduring Understandings and Practices that the student will glean from their studies and experiences. There is meaning and purpose to student learning. If you review our curricula, you will see how subjects are organized around these points. 
    The process… 
    The teachers, supervisors, principals, administration and board members discuss curriculum continually. It is never truly finished. Instead, it is developed through a recursive process with continual enhancement and improvement. Every summer, meetings are held to outline plans for curriculum updates, revisions, and rewrites for the upcoming year. We also explore options for new curriculum. State and national standards are reviewed, analyzing how the curriculum supports them. We provide time for teachers to collaborate and enhance the curricula, share plans and developments with the Education Committee, and make presentations at Board meetings to inform both the Board and the community. Professional learning communities (PLCs), department meetings, grade level meetings, and faculty meetings often center on enhancing the curriculum. Throughout the year and in the summer, we write, revise, and create curriculum as well as analyze and evaluate it, continually measuring the curriculum against standards. 
    What it is not… 
    Curriculum is the road map for instruction, but it doesn’t define other important elements that are germane to teaching. It doesn’t speak to the personality and needs of the class. It doesn’t dictate the teaching strategies needed to reach particular students. It doesn’t address classroom atmosphere and teacher-student rapport. It doesn’t outline what it means to be a professional. All of these aspects are on the other side of the coin. Teachers reference the curriculum and then they breathe life into it. Through their skill in the classroom, their passion for the discipline, and their attention to student needs, teachers make the curriculum alive and valuable. 
    Our goal… 
    …is our vision. 
    In the Roxbury School District, we blend curriculum with strong skills in pedagogy, sharing our 
    commitment and excitement in 
    Preparing the Children of Today for Tomorrow! 
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