Sunday, January 15, 2017

Our Updated Curricula

Since March 2016, the teachers and administrators of the Weehawken Township School District have been revising and enhancing all of our standards-based PreK-12 curricula. Our teachers are mapping and modifying course units, analyzing assessment data, and reflecting on their practice by meeting regularly in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) with their grade level or like-subject colleagues. PLC-based curriculum mapping is a top goal of our three-year District Strategic Plan.


WTSD uses the Understanding by Design curriculum framework developed by Dr. Grant Wiggins and Dr. Jay McTighe. The UbD framework is based on the “backwards design” model, teacher reflection, essential questions, and transfer of skills to the real world.




Our teachers map their UbD curriculum units and plan their formative and summative assessments via the Rubicon Atlas platform. Atlas is simultaneously a medium for collaborative teacher-driven curriculum development and a mechanism for publicly showcasing our standards-based units. Atlas's features include easy linkability to teacher's lesson resources and activities that they develop with Google Drive. I am happy to announce that due to the dedication of our teacher PLCs and the leadership of our Director of Academic Affairs and Innovation, Ms. Francesca Amato, our UbD curriculum maps can now be viewed online: https://weehawkenk12-public.rubiconatlas.org/Atlas/Public/View/Default The unit calendars show course unit sequence and the individual unit maps show the scope of each course unit.




Curriculum mapping is not a one-time initiative. Our teachers will continuously meet in their PLCs to update their units to ensure that the written curriculum matches the taught curriculum. As the owners of the curriculum, our teachers have the autonomy to be innovative in their lesson design and adjust their units in real time to meet the needs of all students.


REFERENCES


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DuFour, R., & Fullan, M. (2013). Cultures built to last: Systemic PLCs at work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
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