The mission of the District, as the primary provider of public education through grade 12, is to educate students through the delivery of a comprehensive, standards-based curriculum so that District graduates become contributing members of society.
Curriculum Development and Review
The Board recognizes the need for and value of a systematic, ongoing program of curriculum development and evaluation. The design and implementation of the curriculum shall be consistent with the Board's adopted mission and applicable goals, state law, and State Board of Education rules. The Board deems it essential that the school system continually develop and modify its curriculum to provide a common direction of action for all instructional and programmatic efforts in the District and to meet changing needs. This curriculum component shall be an integral part of the District's long-range planning process. An environment to support curriculum delivery must be created and maintained by all functions of the organization.
While instructional differentiation is expected to occur to address the unique needs of specific students, that instruction shall be derived from a set of curriculum standards common to all students. There shall be equitable access to the curriculum for all students.
The purpose of education is to impart basic knowledge, concepts, processes, and attitudes necessary for the student to successfully function in society. Education recognizes the characteristics unique to each individual and provides a process for development and expression of each student's innate potential and talents.
The curriculum shall be designed and implemented using a competency-based curriculum approach that has the following premises:
All students are capable of achieving excellence in learning the essentials of formal schooling.
Success influences self-concept; self-concept influences learning and behavior.
The instructional process can be adapted to improve learning.
School can maximize the learning conditions for all students through clearly stated expectations of what students will learn, high expectations for all students, short- and long-term assessment of student achievement, and modifications based on assessment results.
Successful student learning must be based on providing appropriate educational experiences at the appropriate level of challenge in order to ensure maximum student achievement.
High levels of student achievement are the benchmarks for effective curriculum design and delivery (instruction).
The Planned and Written Curriculum
The Board expects that learning will be enhanced by adherence to a curriculum that promotes continuity and cumulative acquisition of skills and knowledge from grade to grade and from school to school. The curriculum should reflect the best knowledge of the growth and development of learners, the needs of learners based on the societal needs, the desires of the residents and taxpayers of the District, state law, and State Board of Education rules.
The focus of the curriculum shall ensure:
Emphasis on reading at grade level;
Mastery of skills required of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in writing and mathematics; and
Objectives derived from state, national, and local assessments.
The curriculum is designed to provide teachers and students with the Board's expectations of what students are to learn.
Subject area student objectives shall be developed for all grade levels and subjects taught in the District. The expectations are that:
All curriculum shall be documented in writing;
The curriculum shall be reviewed and updated as needed on a regular cycle of review;
Teachers shall have access to the grade-level TEKS plus all other curricular tools developed within the District and shall use these tools to develop daily lesson plans; and
Administrators shall work with teachers to maintain consistency between the written curriculum and curriculum objectives actually taught.
Selection of Instructional Resources
Instructional resources such as personnel, textbooks, software, and other materials shall be selected based upon their alignment with the curriculum objectives and curriculum priorities of the District.
Professional development shall be designed and implemented to prepare all staff members associated with the delivery of the curriculum to teach the District curriculum and shall use effective change processes for long-term institutionalization.
The Taught Curriculum
Teachers are expected to contribute to the refinements of the written curriculum and to teach the District curriculum objectives.
The implementation or delivery of the curriculum shall be aligned with the planned and written curriculum and the assessed curriculum. Each of these three components of the curriculum shall be matched to bring about a high degree of consistency.
All programs, including those for special populations, shall be aligned to the District curriculum. Further, they shall be integrated in their approach.
All curriculum decisions, including but not limited to the elimination or addition of programs and courses and extensive content alteration, shall be presented first to the central administration for approval. If the proposal is acceptable at that level, it shall then be presented to the Board.
Curriculum and instruction guides shall serve as the framework from which a teacher will develop units of study, individual lesson plans, and approaches to instruction intended to serve a student's particular needs at a particular time. The guides shall be used to map a logical sequence of instruction.
In addition to the consistent delivery of the objectives in the curriculum, instructional delivery shall be based on sound teaching principles grounded in educational research. Instructional supervision efforts shall focus on these sound teaching principles. This systematic process shall include:
Establishing a school climate that continually affirms the worth and diversity of all students.
Expecting that all students will perform at high levels of cognition.
Ensuring that all students experience opportunities for personal success.
Varying the time for learning according to the needs of each student and the complexity of the task.
Having both staff members and students take responsibility for successful learning.
Analyzing the content of each objective so that instructional strategies match content and assessment.
Sequencing tasks into a hierarchy of learning skills to maximize the effectiveness of instructional delivery.
Orienting students to the objectives to be learned.
Assessing student mastery of the objectives to determine the need for movement to a new instructional objective or the need to extend, enrich, or correct that objective.
The Tested Curriculum
The Superintendent or designee shall establish assessment approaches to determine the effectiveness of instructional programming at the District, campus, and classroom levels. Assessments shall focus on determining the extent to which students are achieving and maintaining mastery of curriculum objectives and the extent to which teachers are effectively delivering the District curriculum.
District staff shall design and use a variety of assessment approaches in determining the effectiveness of the planned and written curriculum, the taught curriculum, and instructional programs. Periodic reports shall be made to the Board concerning these assessments.
The assessed curriculum shall include the following components:
State-level assessments as required, and
Locally developed criterion-referenced assessments for the core content areas at each grade level.
Teachers shall conduct frequent assessments of students on the curriculum objectives. Teacher-made tests, as well as criterion-referenced tests, shall be used to determine patterns of student achievement. Teachers and administrators shall use test results to assess the status of individual student achievement, to continuously regroup students for instruction, to identify general achievement trends of various groups of students, and to modify curriculum and/or instruction as warranted by assessment results.
Principals shall review assessments to help teachers ensure that the assessments are congruent with the written curriculum.
Roles and Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities regarding curriculum development shall be as follows:
The Board shall:
Provide funding for professional development opportunities that focus on curriculum design and delivery for increased student achievement.
Communicate to its constituents the Board's curricular expectations.
Fund adequate resources needed to implement the curriculum based on data.
The Superintendent shall:
Annually report to the Board the results of the tested curriculum.
Ensure that a functional decision-making structure is in place to carry out this policy.
Central office staff shall:
Ensure that a long-range plan is in place for District curriculum development, revisions, program assessment, and student assessment.
Implement the long-range plan, providing technical and expert assistance as required.
Assist principals in monitoring the implementation of the curriculum.
Evaluate programs based on the extent to which they are integrated into the curriculum and produce expected results.
Monitor the implementation of the curriculum through various methods including walk-through observations.
Translate the importance of effective curriculum and instructional practices on a regular basis.
Observe classes, monitor lessons, and evaluate assessment materials utilized on their campus.
Teach the District curriculum.
Frequently assess and document student mastery of curriculum objectives and modify instruction to ensure student success.
Participate in curriculum development/revision activities.
The administration shall ensure that the District's budget reflects funding decisions based on the District's educational goals and priorities. The budget development process shall ensure that goals and priorities are considered in the preparation of budget proposals and that any decisions related to reduction or increase in funding levels are addressed in those terms.