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Curriculum Interview

Curriculum Development Paper Joshua M. Gilevski St. Bonaventure University

Curriculum Interview In preparation for writing this paper about curriculum development Cassadaga Valley Central Schools elementary principal was interviewed. He was asked a series of questions regarding curriculum and his personal thoughts on his role in curriculum as an administrator as well as what our district is shifting to and developing. The Cassadaga Valley Central School Districts values regarding curriculum was also a big area of discussion.

The first question posed to the interviewee was; what do you see as your role in the area of curriculum as a building leader? His response was I have to make sure that it is aligned with national/state/and district standards, ensure that it is being adhered to by

the teachers, that there is vertical and horizontal alignment, and that we have updated curriculum maps and scope and sequence for each subject area. In discussing this we talked about the Common Core Standards that the state has given us and the drive by this district to be in compliance with these state standards. This administrator specifically points out that his role in meeting with teachers during curriculum hours designated monthly by the district is key to having personal input into what is developed in his building. Most state frameworks include goal statements. If the district decides to develop its own or add to the states goals, then principals should have significant input into the process (Glatthorn, 2009, pp. 55). The second question posed to the interviewee was; what do you see your responsibilities and role in the development of curriculum? His response to this was I need to ensure that teachers are provided adequate time to meet and plan curriculum, that they receive sufficient professional development in any new areas such as intro to CCLS, and to ensure that we have all the materials, supplies, and textbooks to implement the

Curriculum Interview curriculum. In ensuing conversation he said that his big push was to get substitute teachers in on a monthly basis during the school day so that he could ensure that teachers were meeting at grade level to help develop their curriculum and make sure to align them to the CCLS standards. He says that developing curriculum maps for each subject and grade level are key in having a comprehensive learning experience for the students in his school. He also stressed the importance in having teachers get away from weekly lessons based on their plan books and lesson plans and move to a more comprehensive learning experience such as teaching units. principals should help teachers develop units, because unit planning has several advantages. First, unit planning stresses the holistic nature of learning: students see the big picture rather than bits and pieces that do not seem to fit together. Second, the unit is at best level at which to integrate the curriculum. Whereas individual lessons can be integrated, the unit structure in its emphasis on general

concepts and themes is a more effective vehicle for integration. Units also provide the best means for emphasizing skills across the curriculum reading, writing, and studying. These skills useful in most subjects are easier to build into a unit structure than teach as standalone lessons (Glatthorn, 2009, pp. 136). The third question posed to the interviewee was; what do you see your responsibilities and role in changes in curriculum? His response was, Through the inquiry team process to determine whether gaps are curricular or instructional and if they are curricular to meet with teachers to address the gaps and ensure alignment with all the standards. This was also discussed further, and he clarified the needs of teachers to determine whether the reason students are falling short on state assessments was a lack in the instruction of the students or if it was the fault of the curriculum. He said that

Curriculum Interview determining this is easy through the observation process, checking plan books, and then meeting with teachers at GRADE LEVEL to determine where and why these gaps exist.

Developing classroom assessments are vital in improving student outcomes when deciding where these gaps are coming from. In the book From Standards to Success, this is discussed as using performance descriptions and criteria in developing and evaluating student work. Performance descriptions with high-quality proficiency criteria are the essential tools Mrs. Hernandez and her colleagues use when they evaluate students work in relation to the expectations of the standards (OShea, 2005, pp. 111). The fourth question posed to the interviewee was; what do you see your responsibilities and role in policy and procedures regarding curriculum? His answer was Review the district policies to ensure alignment with current standards and bring to attention to supervisors or committees to modify curriculum with its needs. Upon further discussion about this topic he stressed the needs in developing a comprehensive assessment system to make sure that our district policies are matching the current standards, are improving instruction, and are then able to be identified and worked on by a group or a committee designated for such a task, in this instance they are grade level teams. At the classroom level, strong assessment improves instruction in several ways. Diagnostic assessment helps the teacher and the students determine what the students know and are able to do. Formative assessment provides information throughout the teaching and learning process and guides instructional decisions, time allocation, and selection of learning tools and resources. Summative assessment provides a measure of progress at a point in time, providing information on accountability for students and teachers.

Curriculum Interview Assessment results help parents monitor their childrens progress (Carr and Harris, 2001, pp. 64-65). The final question posed to the interviewee was; what do you see your responsibilities and role in regards to textbook and resource adoption regarding curriculum? His response was Meet with representatives, review scope and sequence of proposed new text and meet with teachers to see if it addresses the needs, and then meet with the business manager to see how it fits in with budget etc This seems like it is

more of an administrative task as far as budgeting and money allotment when dealing with textbook and resource adoption. He stressed the importance of getting board approval for any decisions regarding changes in textbook and adopting different resources when dealing with this part of the curriculum. In closing I thought it was pertinent to mention our discussion following this interview. It circled around the old school of thought that the teachers should not be teaching just to the standards set by the state. He disagrees with this statement. He says that based on the CCLS and the state assessments, teachers should be worrying about just teaching to the standards outlined by the state because that is what the students are ultimately going to be tested on by the state assessments. This determines the success of our students as well as our teachers, and ultimately on his success as an administrator. This interview process has been extremely helpful in determining the roles and responsibilities that are expected of an administrator and building leader. They are more involved in the development, improvement, and adherence to curriculum than I previously had thought.

Bibliography

Curriculum Interview Carr, Judy F, Harris, Douglas E. (2001). Succeeding with Standards: Linking Curriculum, Assessment, and Action Planning. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Glatthorn, Allan A, Jailall, Jerry M. (2009). The Principal as Curriculum Leader: Shaping what is Taught and Tested. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. OShea, Mark R. (2005). From Standards to Success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.