In our blog post on January 21, we highlighted recent updates to our website. Since then, we’ve been taking a closer look at some of the new elements mentioned. This week, we take a deep dive into our domain Curriculum Implementation.
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by discomfort.” -Arnold Bennett, Novelist
If there’s one concept educators know well, it’s change. From new students and staff to new programs and initiatives, schools are ever-evolving. While many of these changes can bring about great new success, they also present challenges along the way. There are few changes with as wide-reaching consequences as implementing a new curriculum - and fewer as impactful.
Instructional improvement and curriculum change sound like wonderful ideas, but rarely happen seamlessly. Faculty may be less than enthusiastic about these monumental changes, as they may not believe the new curriculum will be as effective as what they’ve been doing successfully. They do not lack the capacity or desire to improve, but often they value their autonomy, worry about an increase in workload, and don’t want to give up on the lesson plans they have already designed and put into practice.
It is the role of school and district leaders, then, to support the implementation of a new curriculum by clarifying the design principles, structure, and content of the new material, building confidence along the way. This process may be bumpy, but leads to strong teaching and positive student achievement in the end.
When it comes to actually implementing this new curriculum, there are some familiar strategies to ensure success. Administrators and teachers must take a deep-dive into the design principles to fully understand the purpose and goals. Teachers can backwards plan, using assessment results to further rationalize what exactly students must learn along the way. Together, all stakeholders can use student data to provide support.
We have launched a new Curriculum Implementation Learning Domain to help navigate this complicated process for administrators and teachers alike . With guidance from our experienced team, we’ve compiled relevant instructional strategies connected to the following growth areas to support teachers and administrators to implement new curriculum successfully:
- Scope: It’s vital to Understand the Design Principles and Structure of the new curriculum and how they support the curriculum structure to effectively put it to use.
- Plan: Strategically plan and pace instruction in such a way to ensure that students are learning in ways that are aligned to the assessments, standards, objectives and understandings. Try Planning from Assessments using Backwards Design or Building a Data Dive Routine.
Engage: Implement student-centered Strengths-Based Instructional Practices, unit and lesson structures, and routines to turn learners into active participants in their own education, using strategies like Learning Bursts or a Workshop for Student-Centered Learning.
- Personalize: One size does not fit all! Use flexible grouping, specific feedback, individual learning progressions, and Analyze Student Data to Inform Instruction to make sure concepts are Stronger and Clearer Each Time.
It has been said that the only constant is change. So when that change inevitably comes, it’s a matter of preparing to tackle it effectively in order to find success. Curriculum implementation is not an event, but rather an ongoing process. With the proper time, energy, resources, and support, these vital changes are bound to lead to success for students and staff - the work and time paying off in droves.
To learn more about the Curriculum Implementation Learning Domain and its featured strategies, visit the domain page.