Pelham - Windham News May 27, 2011 - 5
by Barbara O’Brien Reworking various school curricula is one of those ongoing tasks
New Math Curriculum Being Proposed Wilson said that part of the curriculum redevelopment process
that must be done periodically. As such, staff and administrators in the Windham School District are in the process of doing just that, with Mathematics being the first curriculum to be completed. During the May 16 meeting, Assistant Superintendent Amanda
Lecaroz told School Board members that the proposed 295-page Math Curriculum had been finished and would be brought to the School Board for approval during the next regular meeting on June 7. Lecaroz said that formulating a new curriculum is a process that
is done with “shared leadership,” not something that administrators write without input from all levels of staff. While the curriculum process is overseen by the assistant superintendent(s), either Lecaroz or Roxanne Wilson, the curriculum team is comprised of staff members from kindergarten through 12h grade, with one teacher from each grade level or content area. “This allows us to spread the wealth” of knowledge and experience, Wilson said. Once the curriculum team
completes its work, any proposals are then reviewed by individual department heads for each area of content, as well as individual building level curriculum teams. Windham has four public schools: Golden Brook (grades kindergarten through third), Windham Center School (grades three through five), Windham Middle School (grades six through eight), and Windham High School, which will implement all four grade levels during the next school year, beginning July 1. Currently, seniors are attending Salem High School through an area tuition agreement. The curriculum development
process includes identifying essential standards, writing the curriculum document itself, creating common quarterly assessments, as well as common core lessons and formative assessments. “We want to make sure that every student, regardless of the class he or she is in, will be presented with the same learning opportunities,” Lecaroz said. Once a curriculum is
completed and approved by the School Board, it will then be revamped as necessary, Lecaroz explained. “It’s a cyclical process,” she added. The complete reworking of a curriculum takes about two years to finish, she said. Referring to the work that
has already been done on the Mathematics Curriculum, School Board member Jeff Bostic said, “This is a huge quantum leap forward.” “The results are a lot more
meaningful and effective with input from the classroom teachers,” Lecaroz said. Lecaroz said that one of the
goals of redoing the school district curricula is to provide more enrichment opportunities for students, as well as more in-depth thinking, more problem solving, and further development of critical thinking skills. Curricula yet to be
undertaken, but on the agenda, are Science, Social Studies, and English/Language Arts. Areas to be looked at during the upcoming summer hiatus include Music, Art, Physical Education, Technology Education, Health, and Foreign Languages.
is checking into common core standards used by other states. In
a recent study of state standards for curriculum, New Hampshire received a grade of “F,” she said. “We’re looking at a couple of states that earned an “A,” she noted. Plans are for administrators to generate brochures for parents
detailing various curricula by grade levels. Or, for those who want all the details, they can check out the proposed 295-page Math Curriculum on the school district Website. In response to a question from Dr. Bostic regarding whether any student input is sought on the effectiveness of curricula taught
throughout Windham, Lecaroz said that such a component would be something that could be added to an end-of-the-class evaluation. She also said the possibility of implementing “alumni surveys” is being investigated, perhaps at one-, five-, and 10-yesar intervals (following high school graduation). “This would be very valuable information” in determining how valuable the curricula are to those who have gone on to college and careers. “This is a very impressive document,” School Board member
Michelle Farrell said, adding that she feels classroom teachers are looking forward to putting it into use when the new school year begins.
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