Curricular Phases

Madison Public Schools Curricular Phases

Statement of Pedagogy

Madison Public Schools is dedicated to developing curriculum that is aligned with state and national standards with an emphasis on the skills needed to realize the district vision for a 21st century education. We value curriculum design that constructs and shapes powerful learning experiences to build pathways and connections for application. Substantive learning will be measured using a variety of indicators that include a student’s ability to leverage skills and content for authentic application. Students will be challenged to arrive at deep understanding of content while pondering important essential questions.

The creation of curricular phases organizes and identifies priorities in a systematic manner which will guide revision efforts. The phases within the cycle allow for flexibility in revisions that move faster or slower based on depth and breadth of content. It further promotes interaction across content and concepts in order to build 21st Century Skills with meaning and importance while considering the changing needs of our students.

The Curriculum Review Council (CRC) provides clear guidance and feedback for curriculum writers with a primary function to uphold criteria for district design and assessment standards. All documents are reviewed by the Council prior to presentation to the Madison Board of Education.

Curriculum Review Phases

PHASE 1 Years 1-2: Review and evaluate curriculum, compare current standards, and research best practices. Draft priority benchmark units and courses. Conduct pilot units at select grade levels.

PHASE 2 Years 2-3: Revise K-12 curriculum including indicators of student growth. Select and purchase supporting materials.

PHASE 3 Years 3-4: Implement adopted curriculum with a focus on instruction and professional development. Evaluate needs for modification for learning plan based on evidence of student learning.

PHASE 4 Years 4-5: Monitor implementation and make adjustments. Collect and analyze data on student performance. Determine needs for supplemental materials and additional in-service training.

PHASE 5 Years 5-6: Evaluate effectiveness of curriculum based on data and various measures of student outcomes.


Functions in the Curriculum Renewal Phases

PHASE 1 Review and Evaluate Curriculum and Research (Years 1-2)

Essential Questions: How can we assume various perspectives when examining our present work? How do good researchers gather information to inform future thinking? What are the ideas that make this revision unique? How do we examine possibilities and map our direction with purpose? Are there big ideas that span grade levels and leverage collective efforts?

  • Organize a vertical team to identify current curricula needs in alignment with the district vision through the lens of the specific content area.
  • Provide training and support as needed for the vertical team in review and evaluation.
  • Review student performance indicators related to the district vision.
  • Review state and national documents to determine current alignment.
  • Review literature and research and examine best practices in the content area.
  • Examine current program maps and review various model programs throughout the region.
  • Identify K-12 Long Term Transfer Goals, Priority Standards, Understandings and Essential Questions.
  • Infuse and account for, priority 21st century capacities in the vertical review of the content.

PHASE 2 Revise and Write Curriculum (Year 2 and 3)

Essential Questions: How will we make this unit valuable? How are students inquiring and making meaning? Is this fun and engaging, interesting and relevant? How will we know what our students know? How will the learner experience content and build understanding? How are we building the 21st century capacities in all learners?

  • Write curriculum and research and align materials
  • Value the criteria set forth in the Curriculum Review Council design elements to foster inquiry and meeting the needs of all learners in unit design.
  • Submit for feedback to the Curriculum Review Council and revise to meet district standards when indicated.
  • Pilot curriculum in revised units for teacher feedback.
  • Present to Board of Education for adoption of K-12 curriculum when approved by the Curriculum Review Council.
  • Lay foundational training for the implementation of the curriculum through professional development.

PHASE 3 Implement and Provide Professional Development (Years 3 and 4)

Essential Questions: How does the way we write curriculum cause others to implement instruction? What is lost in translation? How are students responding to our teaching? Are we reaching every learner? How is our instructional repertoire growing? How can we improve?

K-8 Administrators, Coaches, Coordinators, Teachers in ELA and Math

9-12 Administrators, Coordinators, Teachers

  • Implement adopted curriculum.
  • Provide ongoing professional development and/or coaching for staff.
  • Examine student outcomes using assessment materials including Performance Based Assessments and transfer tasks.
  • Ongoing feedback from teachers. Adjustments protocols followed as needed.
  • Identify and share exemplar units

PHASE 4 Monitor Implementation (Years 4 and 5)

Essential Questions: What is the difference between appropriate levels of challenge, frustration, and extension? How do we measure what we think students’ are learning? How should we refine our techniques to meet the needs of our learners? What impact do our decisions today have on tomorrow’s learners?

  • Collect and analyze student work, data and various indicators in the learning plan to determine strengths and weaknesses. Examine anchor sets for Performance Based Assessments and calibration of scoring over time.
  • Address weaknesses through collectively examining stronger units and student work on transfer tasks in order to leverage highly effective teaching strategies.
  • Identify, build, and share collective best practices vertically and horizontally.
  • Determine needs for supplemental materials and professional development supporting differentiated instructional strategies.

PHASE 5 Evaluate effectiveness (Years 5 and 6)

Essential Questions: How can we distinguish between teaching for knowledge and teaching for understanding? What impact does this curriculum really have? How can we figure that out? Are we speaking the same language? Are our students transferring what they know across content areas to solve unique problems?

  • Longitudinal examination of various indicators of student growth to determine patterns of intended and unintended outcomes.
  • Examination of subgroup trends (gender, learning styles, enrichment, etc.) and exploration of techniques that deepen positive trends and address negative trends.
  • Examine cross-curricular indicators of student understanding.