Continuing its series of presentations on its 5 year plans, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Judith LaRocca provided an update on the district’s 5 year plan for curriculum and instruction during the recent meeting of the board of education on February 13 at the .
The slideshow presentation focused on four segments: curriculum, textbooks, professional development and data analysis.
The curriculum writing and development is aligned to the New York State standards and the district has been working for the past several years with the teachers in curriculum committees for ELA, science, math and social studies. Teachers meet four times a year with the principals, who head the committees, to look at the curriculum and adapt it as needed depending on assessments or other changes. This year the district is working with the addition of the common core learning standards.
The district has created frameworks and a pacing document for the which were launched several years ago. For grades one through six, the district created an art, music and physical education curriculum which have recently been revised.
The Illiad committee has also revised the writing portfolio and rubrics for 2011-12 and “those have been implemented in the buildings for the students which are kept in every grade,” LaRocca said. “We continue to build on the portfolio as the students move through the grade levels.”
NHP-GCP is also beginning a new curriculum mapping project to adjust frameworks and pacing documents to adapt to the new New York State common core learning standards.
“The assessments for this year will reflect the previous learning standards but starting in September we will be fully on board with the new common core learning standards and assessments that match those learning standards,” LaRocca said.
The reason that textbook renewal is included “as a big part of the 5 year plan is because it has budget implications,” she continued. “New textbook programs are costly, so we have a cycle – a renewal cycle – for new textbooks to make sure that we are maintaining current textbooks but also we’re being fiscally responsible.”
The district moved to a new book series for math in 2008-09 and 2009-10. “We do a pilot process the year before with the teachers and then once the selected textbook has been approved then we do the purchasing in the following year,” LaRocca said.
New social studies texts were piloted in 2009-10 and the Harcourt series was tested in 2010-11.
The science committee reviewed the Pearson series in 2010-11 and made hands-on science kits. Last year the group reviewed a K-2 math series to meet the new common core standards.
“We will be considering adding a grade level as we move forward with the common core,” LaRocca said.
In terms of professional development, the district has an arrangement with Nassau BOCES to provide professional development and technology implementation through model schools. The district also gives 2 hours of professional development every month. This year’s effort is “Building Base” on the new teacher evaluation system to meet the requirements of the (APPR) regulations from New York State. The APPR is a new requirement that all teachers evaluated yearly and is more detailed to the report that the district currently conducts. Professional development is also given with the introduction of a new textbook.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the district with response to intervention, we’ve actually been ahead of the curve with response to intervention and implementing programs for all of the grade levels,” LaRocca said.
Superintendent Robert Katulak has also been training teachers on ReadingStyles, she added. “He’s an expert in that and we do things with flexible grouping and also we look at assessment data.”
The district conducts its data analysis through a partnership with Nassau BOCES for instructional data warehousing which stores all the date for the state assessments. The principals work with teachers on regular basis, studying the data throughout the year to inform instruction. Administrators also use data as a screening process for kindergartners in order to make placement decisions.
Next steps would include continuing the curriculum maps and student learning objectives. The district will also be finalizing the APPR plan and include the implementation of the local assessment and begin looking at student work as a next step of data analysis and continuing to work with administrators on evaluation training.