25 May The Adopted Curriculum – Process Considerations
By Alexa Morales, Rubicon International
The Adopted Curriculum is designed to support schools and districts who want to provide teachers with a consensus, or agreed-upon, foundation of their curriculum while meeting two specific criteria: 1.) The integrity of the “consensus” (Adopted) curriculum is maintained, and 2.) There is flexibility within the curriculum map for teachers to customize and supplement based on their class experience.
Is the Adopted Curriculum process right for you? This post is intended to pose the questions you should consider as you develop or implement the Adopted Curriculum process.
1. What will your curriculum development and review process look like?
Having a clearly defined process, cycle, or plan will make the use of the Adopted Curriculum more straightforward and clear for everyone involved. Here is a sample process:
A centralized, district, or cross-representative team writes the consensus, or Adopted, curriculum.
The Adopted Curriculum is provided to teachers to implement in their classrooms.
Teachers plan instruction based on this curriculum and document their specific activities, reflections, feedback, and notes.
This feedback is gathered and evaluated during the review process.
The centralized curriculum writing team revises the curriculum accordingly, and re-publishes to teachers.
2. Are there clearly defined roles established to support this process?
Clearly defined guidelines and expectations make the application of this process successful. It also helps establish consistency, understanding, and sustainability for the process in the long-term. Here are some questions you might consider:
Who writes the Adopted (consensus) Curriculum? Does this same team review and revise it?
What are expectations for teachers? How should teachers use the information, and are there guidelines for how/what type of information they should add?
Who will publish the information from the Adopted Curriculum maps to teachers?
How will we ensure all teachers receive the correct information?
3. Are you starting this process fresh, or do you have existing curriculum? What information will be provided for teachers?
If you’re starting fresh, what are the agreed-upon elements of the curriculum that will be published? For example, your Adopted Curriculum may consist of the Standards, Essential Questions, Content & Skills, and Summative Assessments. Following any necessary professional development, the centralized, district, or representative curriculum writing team would then begin designing this content. This content is then published, or provided, to teachers to implement.
If you have existing curriculum, it’s important review the maps and identify which ones will become the Adopted Curriculum. Once identified, those maps can be reviewed, revised, and published to teachers.
4. What will teachers be adding to the published curriculum?
For example, teachers might be expected to add their classroom resources, instructional strategies, reflections, feedback, etc. Consider what information will best help teachers improve their practice, and what information will be the most helpful for your team to review in the long-run. It is important to outline for teachers what information is expected and what information is optional.
Click on the image for an example of what this could look like in Atlas:
5. Do you want teachers working individually or collaboratively?
When the Adopted Curriculum is published to teachers, how do you want them to receive the information?
Individual Maps: Each teacher receives his/her own, personal, individual map. In this map, the Adopted Curriculum elements are provided. Teachers then have the option to supplement, modify, and adjust certain aspects of the curriculum to capture what’s happening in their classrooms.
• Pros: Teachers have full autonomy and flexibility to adjust their map based on their specific classroom experience.
• Cons/Considerations: This results in multiple versions of the same course curriculum, which makes it harder for teachers to see what their teammates are doing. It also might require more maintenance overall.
Collaborative Maps: Teachers who teach the same course share a published map. They receive the published Adopted Curriculum, and like Individual Maps, can make their customizations and additions, but all in the same map.
• Pros: This results in only two versions of every course (one Adopted Curriculum map and one collaborative teacher map). This also allows for increased collaboration amongst teachers and a pooling of resources.
• Cons/Considerations: Since teachers are sharing this map, they cannot completely tailor the units to reflect only their instructional practices and resources.