How Schools Design Their Unit Template for Mission-Driven Curriculum
Many schools aspire to incorporate their school mission statement into the curriculum. As curriculum is a detailed journey of student learning throughout students’ time at the school, it should in turn connect to the mission of the school – answering how a school mission statement will be applied to student experience. Here, we will share examples of how schools create mission-driven curriculum, making their school mission statement a defining aspect of the curriculum. View the examples of independent school curriculum and consider what will work best for your school.
Integrating the Learner Profile into the Curriculum
Viviane Mingazzini, IB Coordinator at Marymount International, Italy
The Education Committee of Marymount International school decided to create a Marymount student profile which could better reflect the identity of our school mission and vision than the IB learner profile. This learner profile aimed to articulate who we are and in so doing, gives focus to our curriculum.
By cross-referencing the MMI mission statement and other IB publications, we identified attributes and descriptors of what is an MMI student. We inserted a drop-down menu on our Atlas maps in order to align our curriculum with individual descriptors.
Rubicon Atlas made this possible in a very short time and we added to standards and benchmarks of individual subjects or subject areas also to our unique MMI profile.
The addition was very well received by faculty because we found it often difficult to provide Administration or Accreditation committees with concrete examples of how we embed our learner profile in our curriculum and that’s an excellent tool to facilitate the accreditation process and to start concrete conversations amongst teachers on how we can better support the values and the ethos of our school.
Bringing in Core Values and Community Engagement
Sanne Bloemarts, Former Teacher at The American School of The Hague, Netherlands
Like all schools, we aim to achieve learning goals through our essential questions, enduring understanding and our assessments. However, our school has an extra unique component that we have incorporated into our Atlas unit template plans. As part of our units, we expect teachers to link the curriculum to the school’s Core Values and Community Engagement. It is important that we consider how our lessons relate to the school and its community. This is particularly noteworthy in Social Studies lessons. Linking student learning to the values of the school and the community, brings authenticity to our lessons.
Template Examples for Designing Your Curriculum Map
Spark inspiration for next-level curriculum design with curriculum map examples from schools and districts across the world.
Assessing for Non-Cognitive Skills in Curriculum
Materials prepared by Jaime Lassman, Director of Studies at The Lexington School, KY
**This section is adapted from a webinar. You can watch a recording here.
Curriculum is multi-faceted. At the surface, there are the content and skills prescribed by subject areas, standards, 21st century skills, and more. But, there is also a hidden curriculum, which consists in part of the non-cognitive skills that the activities, assessments, and discussions instill in students such as: empathy, work ethic, respect, resilience, creatively, teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Many educators are beginning to recognize a need to elevate the importance of these non-cognitive skills in classrooms by making them an integral part of the formal curriculum – one such school is The Lexington School. The Lexington School has instigated a formalizing of their hidden and unwritten curriculum by unpacking their school mission statement and measuring students’ progression in these non-cognitive skills, which has led to the design of mission-driven curriculum.
To begin this initiative, Jaime and his team began by asking: How can we look at our mission statement, combine our goals and our values and look at what we are doing? How can we look at the non-cognitive skills?
They then created a three-year strategic plan to bring their mission statement to life. Ultimately, they have created a written curriculum that is aligned with skills they are able to track, analyze, and revise within their unit template in their Atlas system.
Here is a preview of their Strategic Plan:
How the MSA skills appear in their units of instruction for alignment:
Leading Curriculum Development with the School Mission Statement
Materials Prepared by Melanie Glennon, York Country Day School, PA
Melanie came to our Rubicon Leadership Institute with an aim of developing a unit template that would support their goal of “making mapping our own.” They had taken a break from mapping for a few years and made a huge shift in what they wanted to capture based on what was important for their school. By leading their unit template with their school mission statement, they set the focus and purpose of mapping mission-driven curriculum.
Documenting Character Education with Signature Program Mapping
Sandra Boyes, Head of Lower and Middle Schools The Crescent School, Toronto, Ontario
It’s not an injunction we often get in the education sphere, but the sage advice of “Think inside the box!” came from Sandra. We delved into how to chart the “hidden curriculum” that so often goes unrecorded– or, in Sandy’s words: “the legacy programs that make a school special.”
She and her teams created a UbD-style signature program School in Atlas where they mapped Character Education. By mapping these programs in Atlas, the Crescent team successfully corralled all of their data, outside research, and localization efforts into their maps. This alleviated the risk of losing precious records and ideas that enrich the program into the future. In her words: “We felt restless about leaving this information to the chance of time!”