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RIDE supports several blogs throughout our website where Rhode Islanders and RIDE staff share their thoughts.

On this page, we have collected all of the blogs on our site - many of which share posts from Rhode Island educators other than RIDE staff. Blogs are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Commissioner's Corner: Commissioner Wagner's blog posts and messages to the Rhode Island community.
  • District Teacher of the Year (DTOY): Posts from the Rhode Island District Teachers of the Year, past and present, who share about instructional successes and challenges they encounter in Rhode Island classrooms.
  • Equitable Access to Excellent Educators: Rhode Island educators and RIDE staff explore factors and perspectives on the importance of ensuring that all students are taught by high quality educators.
  • Leadership: Reflections and insights from RIDE’s Leadership Fellow and other district and school leaders on the challenges and opportunities of being a school leader.
  • Rhode Island Poet Laureate: Reflections and poetry focused on teaching, learning, and the experience of education from Tina Cane, Rhode Island Poet Laureate.
  • Rhode Island Science Education (R.I.S.E.): A communication blog to update stakeholders in education and in the community on important developments, events and accomplishments in science education in Rhode Island.
  • Student Voice: Because student voice is an essential component of our discussion on education, RIDE will post essays written by students from around Rhode Island.

Click on a category below to filter by a particular blog:




Curriculum is the Core of All Student Learning

Posted by: Kamlyn Keith on 11/3/2017

RIDE has transformed District Network Meetings for the 2017-2018 school year to provide more relevant and valuable professional learning opportunities. The Honors Colloquium on Curriculum is a four-part, year-long initiative related to curriculum definition and development. After each session, a guest blogger will reflect on what they have learned and how it will support great teaching and learning in our schools.

Jamestown Superintendent, Dr. Kenneth Duva, shares his perspective on the first session, run by David Steiner of John’s Hopkins University.

Dr. Kenneth Duva, Superintendent
Jamestown

Multiple Silver Bullets… Is how David Steiner describes our search for the most effective curriculum. Through social media outlets and in email, we receive information about personalized learning, blended learning, project-based learning or student-centered, whole-child approaches. We live in a society in which we want immediate gratification and it is the same with education. Educators learn about a new practice and run with it. According to Dr. Steiner “the actual core of what matters are two things.”

  • What we teach...
  • How effective we teach it...

What we teach...

As educators, we know what is important: that is the time and research that needs to be part of the process when making decision around curriculum, instruction and assessment. We need to focus in on the “what” we want our educators to teach our students. Is it best to leave it up to each individual teacher or school? We should be striving for consistency amongst what we expect teachers to teach and students to learn. There needs to be a systematic plan in place in which we cycle through choosing curriculum, implementing curriculum and evaluating the curriculum. And don’t overlook the professional development that is closely associated with the curriculum we expect our teachers to master.

I found this piece of research that Dr. Steiner shared very interesting: “an effective curriculum can provide the equivalence of eight more months of learning.” If this statement doesn’t excite us to evaluate our curriculum immediately, then I am not sure what will! Why would any administrator want to lose out on finding extra time and ways to enhance the learning of each and every student in their schools? It is the strong leadership, supervision and shared ownership between administration and teachers that is needed to evaluate what we are teaching, and the fidelity of the implementation of the written curriculum. The implementation of a strong curriculum has a high impact on student success. We should be providing teachers with the content knowledge, scope and sequence to instruct our students.

The focus was on the importance of consistency with curriculum across schools within a district. As students transfer school to school or transition to upper schools, we want students to transition successfully. As students from different elementary schools join together at the middle school, we should make sure they are entering having learned the same content, skills and similar experiences. The given impact on curriculum has a far higher impact in the upper grades as children get older.

How effective we teach it...

The implementation of a high-quality curriculum will result in positive student outcomes. However, the curriculum must be implemented as it was designed, following the scope and sequence of skills to be taught. Dr. Steiner referred to three types of curriculum: the written curriculum, the taught curriculum and the learned curriculum. We should ensure that our students are learning the curriculum in the way it was written and designed to be implemented. How do we ensure that? By setting specific expectations on the implementation of the curriculum and the resources to be used, holding administrators and teachers accountable for these expectations, providing meaningful professional development on the adopted curriculum, and cycling through with observations and feedback. Participating in instructional rounds, observing in the classroom and calibration are a few ways to ensure the curriculum is being implemented as designed. Teachers are not curriculum designers and we need to provide them with the effective tools to create positive student outcomes.

The future...

We are heading in the right direction as the Department of Education is focusing on defining, structuring, and evaluating curriculum, instruction, and assessment to provide coherence. Teachers need direction and vetted effective curriculum to ensure positive student outcomes. If we expect our teachers to become experts in the curriculum, they also need the time to share and collaborate with each other vertically and horizontally within grades. They need to discuss student data, curriculum and instruction frequently to evaluate and reflect on their practices. As educators, there are times we work on our own; however, it is when we come together that amazing work and goals can be achieved. We need to branch out of our comfort zones to observe the work that is being implemented, take an audit on what is being taught, and review the data that tells us what the students are learning. Are the outcomes we want, the outcomes we see?

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