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Tool: Helping teachers take control of curriculum

Purpose of this tool: It is no secret that your effectiveness is a key to many of the reform strategies in your school. Your curriculum efforts should not be underestimated! Undoubtedly, you are faced with teachers complaining that, due to current policies, the curriculum is narrowing, teachers are under attack because of low test scores and teachers are feeling powerless and resorting to simply efficient instructional practices in order to cover the content. One way to reclaim part of your leadership function is to design ways to engage teachers in taking control and making meaning of the curriculum to improve student achievement.

Which of the following ideas have you implemented?

Have I…?




Ways I can build on this initiative

1. had in-depth conversations with beginning teachers about content standards to determine what background knowledge they bring regarding these matters?

2. provided opportunities (grade level, department level) for teachers to engage in curriculum mapping—aligning national, state and local standards?

3. provided opportunities for the teachers to converse by grade level or department about year-end expectations so they acquire the big picture before they get buried in day-to-day activities?

4. provided opportunities for teachers to converse by grade level or department about assessment, including teacher-made and standardized tests that are used to measure achievement?

5. provided opportunities for teachers (including grade levels and departments) to converse about what success beyond standardized test scores looks like?

6. provided opportunities for teachers to design and implement measures to look at student growth and development beyond test scores?

7. provided opportunities for teachers to converse about and study student work in an effort to get clearer about what constitutes meaningful learning (know, understand, appreciate and apply as related to standards)?