The district works to ensure that every student engages in a rigorous curriculum that is implemented consistently within and across all schools in the district. The Massachusetts State Frameworks in the content areas provide the basis for defining the rigor that is necessary. The curriculum boards drive the program evaluation review cycle as well as providing teachers and administrators with helpful implementation tools. Teachers, program coordinators, and building level administrators work collaboratively to review and refine district assessments in order to maintain consistency across the district.
The vision for the Curriculum Boards is to build a collaborative structure through which teachers and administrators can discuss the APS curricula at all levels, participate in a program evaluation, develop strong assessments that align to standards, and/or create new pathways for our students. This work is critical to the success of our students and keeps us current with new research. The success of the board lies with the participating teachers, the leadership both they and the administrators demonstrate, and willingness of the APS staff to trust the work, the research, and the recommendations this board makes to the district leadership team to continue to build strong programs.
The board consists of two bodies, a steering committee and an advisory board. The steering committee meets at three times to understand the desired outcome from each of the advisories, to share strategies for meeting those outcomes, and to serve as communicators of this work to the teachers and administrators in the district. Members of the steering committee will work closely with the program coordinators to frame the process to insure transparency. The advisory board meets bi-weekly to reach the goals set by the board and the steering committee. In some cases, serving on the advisory board can be grouped in 10 hour increments in order to get stronger participation for a shorter period of time. The Steering Committee and the program coordinator facilitating that advisory determine the flexibility in membership.
Curriculum Review Cycle
The Curriculum Steering and Advisory Councils play a pivotal role in this evaluation and review process. In years 1 and 2, they provide the district with valuable data based on how the evaluation was conducted and what was learned. This group analyzes test scores, common assessment data, teacher feedback, community feedback and makes recommendations and maps out how the changes will be made based on that data and other outside research. Continuing in year 3, the advisory supports the implementation of the changes by identifying key elements that are necessary for a successful adoption of program or changes in practice. The curriculum review cycle continues in year 4 collecting data but suggesting only slight tweaks. In years 5 - 6, after teachers have had two or more years working with a program or change, tweaks and adjustments are made to the curriculum, instruction or assessment protocols. In year 7, the process begins again.
Currently (2016 – 17) , English Language Arts and Literacy are in year 1 of their program review, Social Studies is in year 2, K – 8 Science is in year 3, and K – 8 Math is in year 4.