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How can

Hawai ‘i Based
SchoolRise Consultants
To Doour
help Listschool? Meeting
Kathryn Au
Chief Executive Officer
Tara Takatsuka
High Standards
Executive Director, SchoolRise Hawai‘i
Sharyn Hirata
Helping Your School
SchoolRise will guide the teachers at your Special Projects Coordinator
Build a Staircase Curriculum
school in implementing a research-based Kitty Aihara
system for improving student achievement Claire Asam
through standards. This system, the Standards-
Based Change (SBC) Process, centers on a nine- Jackie Carroll
item To Do List. The To Do List is implemented Ruth Ann Cullen
in four phases. Randee Golden-Scalise
Alice Kawakami
Phase 1: Schoolwide Goals Gail Lee
• Philosophy Judy Scheu
• Vision of the excellent student
Elsie Tanaka
Annette Yamaki
Phase 2: Grade Level or Department Goals
• Grade level or department benchmarks
• I Can statements

Phase 3: Assessment System
• Evidence
• Procedures for collecting evidence
• Rubrics
• Bar graphs

Phase 4: Evidence-Based Teaching 520 Lunalilo Home Road, #230
Honolulu, HI 96825
• Instructional improvements (808) 429-9464
What teachers say about
SchoolRise professional Building
TThe Thea SChoe
Staircase Curriculum
SchoolRise Story

What does SchoolRise think schools should do to
What I found valuable was time spent promote student achievement?
• our I Cans,
School rubrics, and procedures
Our research suggests that student achievement
(again!). We found
survey it necessary to take our
students to a higher level. advances when schools implement a staircase or
• In-depth interviews coherent curriculum. In a staircase curriculum,
- Elementary teacher what students learn at one grade level builds on
• Document analysis
what they learned in the grade before and leads up
If you had asked me before about literacy
• theAchievement test analysis to what they learn in the grade that follows.
across content areas, I would have
refused on the grounds that I didn’t want The opposite of a staircase curriculum is a
to do the English department’s work. But fragmented curriculum in which there is little or no How long is it going to take for our school to build
our training sessions focused on how continuity of instruction for students from year to the staircase curriculum?
reading plays out in math, and it made
year. Research suggests that a fragmented The speed with which your school constructs and
sense to me.
curriculum is particularly detrimental to the implements its staircase curriculum depends on
- Middle school math teacher learning of struggling students. the amount of time and support you give teachers
We’re thinking of buying a new reading program and to carry out this endeavor. At schools that provide
After a few sessions with the consultant, I
could actually hear teachers from different requiring every teacher to follow it. Won’t that give teachers with ample time and support, the
content areas use the same terminology us a staircase curriculum? staircase curriculum can come together in about 2
from the To Do List work. That has done a years.
lot to unify the school. Many schools attempt to solve the problem of
curriculum coherence by adopting programs. Exactly what kinds of professional development will
- High school social studies teacher Unfortunately, research indicates that adopting a SchoolRise provide to help us build our staircase
program does not, in and of itself, lead to curriculum?
I made the assumption that when I asked
students to write about music, I was just curriculum coherence. The reason is that teachers We typically begin by providing training in the SBC
doing what participation in SBCP required. may interpret a program in different ways or carry Process to the school’s leadership team and
But I found out from the results that I out only certain parts of a program. curriculum committee. When this groundwork has
needed to consciously teach my students Our research with the Standards-Based Change been established, we introduce the To Do List to
about music terminology … because their the whole school, and teachers in all grade levels
(SBC) Process shows that teachers at a school
writing showed they did not understand and departments start working to complete the
must work actively to construct the staircase
music vocabulary. That’s how the SBCP items on the list. We then hold coaching sessions
writing project helped me to be a better curriculum. Teachers need focused professional
development as well as time to work together, with individual grade levels and departments to
music teacher.
first within and then across grade levels and ensure that all groups move forward together.
- High school music teacher departments.