Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

October 26, 2012

New plan for developing Andover schools' curriculum

The strategic plan for the Andover Public Schools defines success, in part, by our ability to adapt. To ensure high academic achievement for all students, and to support high quality teachers, staff, and leaders, we must constantly seek to improve our curriculum so that we capitalize on the best pedagogies, practices, and technology applications that are available to the classroom. To meet these goals, I have undergone a complete assessment of how curriculum has been developed in Andover, and I am excited to announce our new plan.

When I met with a group of teachers last spring to discuss what worked in the past and what needed improvement, a few things stood out.

First, teachers felt as though the curriculum work done in the past was not attached to a district vision, or--if there was a broader goal--it was not communicated effectively. Second, teachers shared that they thought their curriculum work ended up in a black hole somewhere--that it was never adopted or integrated.

The group also felt they were often working in isolation, and that the work done at one grade or level was not reviewed or understood by teachers at other levels.

In all three cases, there was a breakdown in communication, transparency, and accountability. As a result, the new plan I have developed addresses these areas of concern.

Going forward, we will have two working curriculum bodies; one a subset of the other. The first group, the Curriculum Steering Committee, will have representation from both level (elementary, middle, and high) and content (disciplines like math, science, world languages, etc). Members of the Steering Committee will work with me and other administrators to set direction, create communication processes, give feedback, make presentations, and facilitate the other body: the Curriculum Advisory Groups. These groups, representing all content areas, will create action plans, complete the outlined tasks of each plan, share their work with other areas, and make recommendations for summer curriculum work and professional development to bring the action plan from paper to reality.

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