An overview of the process the St. Tammany Parish Public School System used to write the Guaranteed Curriculum

 

            The St. Tammany Public School System has always provided a high quality education for all students.  In the late 1990s, the Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) were the standards that all Louisiana schools followed.  In 2010, Louisiana introduced the Common Core State Standards for English and mathematics only. By state law, all districts had to adjust their curriculum to meet the new standards. 

            The St. Tammany Parish Guaranteed Curriculum has been guiding our classroom instruction for the last 8 years.  It will continue to serve as a guide for all teachers to differentiate for all learners in their classrooms.  To make the shift to the new standards, several steps to revise our curriculum were taken to match the standards.  The following is a brief overview of the process to write curriculum:

Step 1:  To create curriculum, we start with the grade, subject matter, and expectations of what students should know and be able to do.  The expectations, written in the form of standards, are grouped, and a timeline for study is developed. 

Step 2:  After careful examination of standards to be addressed, a timeline is created.  How long will it take for students to master the skills and content?   This timeline is an estimate and is adjusted by the classroom teacher.  

Step 3:  Then, we choose the content.  Content is comprised of reading materials including fiction and nonfiction in various formats.  Content also includes pictures, drawings, and primary source documents such as maps or The Constitution.  Reading material is drawn from various sources such as current collections, the Classics, and literature selections from textbooks that are currently in use.

Example:  The subject is 5th grade English Language Arts (ELA includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking).  Click here for the skills being addressed in this unit.  The timeline for Unit 2 ELA is nine weeks.  Some of the reading materials chosen include The Sign of the Beaver (Elizabeth George Speare), The Blind Men and the Elephant (John Godfrey Saxe), and selections from our reading series Treasures to address spelling, phonics, and grammar.

            The Guaranteed Curriculum is a living document that is reviewed and revised on an ongoing basis.   Curriculum Specialists along with other groups collaborate to write the curriculum.  For example, Teacher Leaders, one teacher from each school, were identified by administrators to help with the transition to the new standards.  After receiving professional development at the State and local level, these teachers gave presentations at their schools to help with the transition.  Also, the Curriculum Specialists and representative teachers examined the lessons, novels, and supplementary resources in the Guaranteed Curriculum, adjusted lessons to the appropriate grade levels, added new lessons to fill gaps, and deleted lessons which failed to match the standards.  Additionally, during the summer, St. Tammany teachers created lessons to be included in the units of English and mathematics in the Guaranteed Curriculum.

            Our curriculum will continue to be transformed based on feedback from Curriculum Specialists, Teacher Leaders, Resource Helping Teachers, Technology Resource Teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, and supervisors.  Through a collaborative process, school level educators can give feedback to the district.  Supervisors, Curriculum Specialists, and the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction review the feedback and make revisions as needed.  Annually, the District analyzes assessment results to assure the alignment of the curriculum and academic progress.