Curriculum development is an ongoing process in the school district and consists of both research and design. Research is the studious inquiry and critical investigation of the various content areas for the purpose of revising and improving curriculum and instruction based on relevant information pertaining to the discipline. This study is conducted both internally (what and how we are currently doing at the local level) and externally (what national standards, professional organizations, recognized experts, current research, etc., tell us relative to the content area). Design is the deliberate process of planning and selecting the standards and instructional strategies that will improve the learning experiences for all students.
A systematic approach to curriculum development (careful research, design, and articulation of the curriculum) serves several purposes:
- Focuses attention on the content standards of each discipline and ensures the identified learnings are rigorous, challenging, and represent the most important learning for the students;
- Increases the probability that students will acquire the desired knowledge, skills, and dispositions and that our schools will be successful in providing appropriate learning experiences;
- Facilitates communication and coordination; and
- Improves classroom instruction.
The superintendent [or designee] is responsible for the curriculum development process and for determining the most effective method of conducting research and design activities. A curriculum framework will describe the processes and procedures that will be followed in researching, designing, and articulating each curriculum area. This framework will, at a minimum, describe the processes and procedures for the following curriculum development activities to:
- Study the latest thinking, trends, research, and expert advice regarding the content/discipline;
- Study the current status of the content/discipline (what/how well students are currently learning);
- Identify content standards, benchmarks, and grade level expectations for the content/discipline;
- Describe the desired learning behavior’s teaching and learning environment related to the content/discipline;
- Identify differences in the desired and present program and develop a plan for addressing the differences;
- Communicate with internal and external publics regarding the content area;
- Involve staff, parents, students, and community in curriculum development decisions;
- Verify integration of local, state, and/or federal mandates;
- Verify how the standards and benchmarks of the content/discipline support each of the broader student learning goals and provide a K-12 continuum that builds on the prior learning of each level; and
- Align annual improvement goals with needs assessment information.
The superintendent [or designee] will establish a curriculum material review and evaluation process for each area of the curriculum which will serve as the procedure for district-wide curriculum development. The school board recognizes that effective curriculum development requires the planned allocation of resources, staff time, and staff development.
All curriculums may be reviewed by the school board. Curricular proposals from certified staff may be presented to the superintendent [or designee]. Curriculum maps, including standards and aligned assessments, will be developed and used for the various subject areas or interdisciplinary offerings. The curriculum maps will present a framework for proposed instructional strategies and assessment as a basis for further development of any particular area. The curriculum maps reflecting a correlation of standards, Iowa Core curriculum, and Common Core will be designed to assist all users in strengthening and clarifying their teaching, philosophy of learning, differentiation of instruction, and use of materials. The superintendent [or designee] will design procedures for the development and use of the curriculum maps.
It is the responsibility of the superintendent [or designee] to keep the school board apprised of necessary curriculum revisions, progress, or each content area related to curriculum development activities and to develop administrative regulations for curriculum development including recommendations to the board.
Reviewed: 6/11; 10/13; 4/15; 1/18; 2/21
Revised: 7/12; 4/20; 3/23
Related Policy: 600.1-2; 602.11-13
Legal Reference (Code of Iowa): §§ 216.9; 256.7; 279.8, .74; 280.3; 281 IAC 12.5, .8
IASB Reference: 602.1