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Curriculum Handbook

Curriculum Handbook

The Foundation for the Curriculum Framework

The purpose of this document is to provide Pocatello/Chubbuck School District teachers and administrators a framework to improve curriculum and instruction through the implementation of a comprehensive process and structure for curriculum development linked to the District Continuous Improvement Plan, research, and best practices.

The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District subscribes to a standards-based approach to curriculum development (See Policy 6100: Curriculum). As such, curriculum and instruction will:

  • Align to the Idaho Content Standards and state/district assessments.
  • Enable all learners to become college or career-ready and achieve at high levels.
  • Be coordinated and articulated to ensure that all students learn a consistent core of significant content throughout the school system.
  • Consist of core instructional units, which guide teachers’ decisions about planning instruction and assessing student learning.
  • Be developed and implemented system-wide.
  • Be developed as a participatory process involving major stakeholders.
  • Be reviewed on a cyclical basis and be responsive to an evolving knowledge base and social and technological changes.
  • Include an emphasis on the development of higher-order thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving.
  • Allow learners to gain skills for social responsibility, which can be integrated across the disciplines.
  • Enable all staff to be accountable for student learning.
  • Be supported with instructional resources, to the extent financially feasible.
  • Be effectively delivered in the classroom by highly qualified teachers.
  • Necessitate high expectations of staff and learners.

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Curriculum Design

Vision:

Ensure every learner has equal access to high-quality, research-based instructional materials aligned to the written curriculum and taught by a skillful, highly effective teacher.

Overview:

The Curriculum Department in collaboration with unit development teams will:

  • Align written, taught, and assessed curricula at all grade levels to the Idaho Content Standards.
  • Provide for the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and understandings at the surface, deep, and transfer levels to achieve competence in the Idaho Content Standards.
  • Encourage high-level thinking and problem-solving.
  • Encourage the application of skills and understandings to authentic and relevant experiences.
  • Continually assess and provide feedback on learning.
  • Provide a professional development program to ensure successful curriculum delivery.
  • Monitor curriculum delivery and student learning through supervision and evaluation models.

Curriculum Components:

A standards-based curriculum is designed to build on knowledge, skills, and understandings learned as students move from one grade level to the next. The K-12 curriculum is developed to ensure learners master the Idaho Content Standards and district graduation requirements (See Policy #8203: Graduation Requirements). For high school requirements, also see High School Handbook and Curriculum Guide.

  • The curriculum-planning framework utilized by the district to organize the Idaho Content Standards for instruction is based upon the research and best practices of John Hattie et al. The focus of this research-based curriculum framework is on designing units that lead to learner understanding and the autonomous ‘transfer’ of learning to new situations as evidenced by deliberately constructed summative assessments. The framework fosters alignment between the standards, the instructional shifts that teachers need to make to ensure learners achieve the standards, and state/district assessments. Units of instruction reflect the Board-approved curriculum as required in Policy 6101: Curriculum. Units of instruction have been developed for K-12 English Language Arts, K-12 Mathematics, 6-12 Social Studies, 6-12 Science, and Middle School/High School Health.
  • Units include the following components: Unit Overview; Clusters of Idaho Content Standards identified for the unit including Focus and Accompanying Standards, Learning Intentions, Success Criteria aligned to Learning Intentions, Tasks/Assessments, Required Summative Assessment; Key Vocabulary, Vetted Materials/Resources; and Pacing.
  • The elective course curriculum is aligned to the applicable Idaho Content Standards as well as the Reading and Writing Standards for Literacy.  The Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum is provided through the Division of Career and Technical Education at the State Department of Education (See https://cte.idaho.gov/). CTE instruction emphasizes technical reading and writing as well as workplace readiness skills in support of the Reading and Writing Standards for Literacy in Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

Communication of Curriculum:

The Curriculum Department makes every effort to communicate the curriculum requirements to administrators, teachers, parents, and learners. Applicable curriculum documents, including units of instruction, are posted on the district website at www.sd25.us under Departments, Curriculum & Testing.

Curriculum Renewal Process

The curriculum renewal process is designed in phases to promote the ongoing refinement and implementation of curriculum and the acquisition of high-quality, research-based instructional materials, per available funding, taught by a skillful, highly effective teacher. The phases, articulated below, include Planning, Curriculum Development, Textbook/Instructional Materials Selection, Implementation & Evaluation:

Phase I: Planning

Action

Participants

  1. Examine the current research surrounding the discipline being reviewed.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

  1. Review current state and national standards.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

  1. Review learner achievement data to determine strengths and weaknesses.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

  1. Review current curriculum documents.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

  1. Identify improvement needs based on achievement data and current research.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

Phase II: Curriculum Development

Action

Participants

  1. Revise curriculum documents using established format and processes.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

Phase III: Textbook/Instructional Materials Selection (^) (See Policy & Procedure 6402: Textbook Adoption)

(See Adoption Process Checklist)

Action

Participants

  1. Convene textbook/instructional materials adoption committee and establish a timeline.

Curriculum Department

  1. Based on research, revised curriculum, and improvement needs, determine the criterion for a new textbook or instructional resources and review with textbook/instructional materials adoption committee.

Curriculum Department / Instructional Directors

  1. Contact publishing companies with the established criteria. Request preview materials, as well as specific research and effect size data.

Note: The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District has established a ‘closed-district practice’ whereby publishers are required to work solely through the Director of Curriculum / Curriculum Coordinator. Publishers may not contact teachers directly.

Curriculum Department

  1. Determine which resources meet the established criteria and narrow the selections.

Curriculum Department / Textbook and

Instructional Materials Adoption Committee

  1. Determine presentation schedule and invite publishers to present materials.

Curriculum Department

  1. Based on presentations and established criteria, further narrow the selections.

Curriculum Department / Textbook and

Instructional Materials Adoption Committee

  1. Provide time for in-depth study of resources, which may include lesson demonstrations by the publisher.

Curriculum Department / Textbook and

Instructional Materials Adoption Committee

  1. Select “Best Fit” textbook/resources.

Textbook and

Instructional Materials Adoption Committee

  1. Provide recommendation to the Superintendent; obtain Superintendent and School Board approval.

Director of Curriculum

  1. Order new resources.

Curriculum Department

(^) The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District adopts vetted research-based instructional materials through a well-articulated adoption process. As such, it is the expectation that these programs be used as the primary resource for instruction. To provide for educational equity and a guaranteed and viable curriculum, supplemental resources should be used sparingly. See Guaranteed, Viable, & Equitable Curriculum.

Phase IV: Implementation & Program Evaluation

Action

Participants

  1. Refine curriculum documents to reflect new resources.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

  1. Provide professional development to staff members that ensure: (a) an understanding of the revised curriculum documents, and (b) a working knowledge of the adopted instructional resources.

Curriculum Department

  1. At the conclusion of the first year of implementation, conduct program evaluation including a review of (a) the revised curriculum documents, (b) instructional resources, (c) professional development associated with implementation, and (d) student achievement data.

Curriculum Department and Applicable Teachers

  1. Use program evaluation from the end of the first-year implementation to make necessary modifications.

Curriculum Department and Unit Developers

  1. Evaluate curriculum effectiveness by monitoring learner achievement data.

Curriculum Department

Cycle of Renewal:

The Cycle of Renewal is based on the Idaho State Department of Education’s Adoption Process which provides review and evaluation of new curricular materials according to the SDE six-year adoption cycle.  Materials are screened for content, organization, presentation, and quality.  This process maintains local control in the choice of instructional materials by providing approved listings of materials in subject areas.  All state-approved materials are under contract for the length of the adoption cycle, ensuring the availability of quality materials, at the lowest possible price.

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Roles and Responsibilities Pertaining to the Curriculum Department

Designing, implementing, and assessing curriculum in the School District is a responsibility best shared. The roles and responsibilities are defined as follows:

School Board:

  • Establishes policy relative to the process for the design and delivery of the curriculum.
  • Adopts a budget that provides for the development, implementation, resources (as money is available), and training needed to deliver the curriculum.

District Administration:

  • Provides leadership to ensure the implementation of standards-based teaching and learning.
  • Supports the curriculum renewal process.

Curriculum Department:

  • Provides leadership for the development and implementation of curriculum documents.
  • Ensures alignment of curriculum to state standards through the unit development framework and process.
  • Facilitates the curriculum renewal process.
  • Informs superintendent and school board of budgetary needs and the textbook/instructional resources adoption recommendation.
  • Ensures all curriculum components are included in the written curriculum.
  • Communicates the written curriculum to staff, students, and parents.
  • Provides targeted professional development for curriculum implementation.
  • Monitors curriculum implementation through analysis of learner achievement data.
  • Facilitates review of instructional resources for alignment and support of the written curriculum.
  • Implements procedures for review of any challenged instructional resources (See Policy and Procedure 6405: Media Center Instructional Materials Selection/Review).
  • Develops and communicates K-5 Required Instructional Time (See Required Instructional Time).
  • Coordinates the activities of the District Curriculum Committee, Curriculum/Unit Development Teams, Textbook/Instructional Materials Adoption Committee, Instructional Technology Committee, as well as State/District Assessment Program, District Professional Development, and GATE Program.

District Curriculum Committee:

  • Meets monthly and is comprised of a team of administrators, principals, teachers, and parents who serve three-year terms.
  • Provides recommendations to the superintendent on all curricular issues and proposed new courses or programs.
  • Recommends approval for new courses to become a standard part of the curriculum.
  • Reviews requests by outside agencies that desire to present information or programs in the schools and approve or deny requests.

Instructional Technology Committee:

  • Establishes the direction of instructional technology and plans and prioritizes the technology needs district-wide based on the District Continuous Improvement Plan and the Instructional Technology Plan.
  • Meets four times per year and is comprised of a team of administrators, principals, and teachers who serve three-year terms.
  • Provides recommendations to the superintendent on all instructional technology issues/programs.

Unit Developers:

  • Assists in the development of units of instruction and/or curriculum documents aligned to the Idaho Content Standards.
  • Attends and participates in summer unit development as scheduled.
  • Assists in the research of best practices and resources in support of the implementation of the instructional units.
  • Provides training and support to staff inclusive of the instructional shifts and orientation to revised units of instruction.

Textbook/Instructional Materials Adoption Committee: (See Policy & Procedure 6402: Textbook Adoption)

  • In collaboration with the Curriculum Department, determines criteria for new textbook/instructional materials resource adoption.
  • Evaluates new textbooks/instructional resources.
  • Makes recommendations for adoption to the Director of Curriculum.

Building Principal:

  • Understands the written curriculum and monitors its implementation in the classroom.
  • Monitors the delivery of the District curriculum to ensure that instruction delivered by teachers aligns with the defined curriculum (See Policy 6101: Curriculum).
  • Provides instructional leadership, supervises, assists, coaches, and motivates school staff in the curriculum delivery process.
  • Focuses supervision and evaluation of classroom teachers on the use of the curriculum in planning and delivering instruction and in assessing learner progress.
  • Facilitates the establishment of effective teacher collaboration for data analysis and lesson design and delivery through the PLC+ process.
  • Acts as a liaison between school staff and the Curriculum Department.
  • Promotes professional development opportunities to connect and align the adopted curriculum with classroom practice.
  • Reviews and reports assessment results and addresses areas of need through the school's Continuous Learning Plan and professional development plans.
  • Allocates resources to support the delivery of the written curriculum within the parameters noted in a Guaranteed, Viable, & Equitable Curriculum.
  • Supports the curriculum renewal process.

Classroom Teacher:

  • Understands the written curriculum for his/her grade/subject as well as the learning progressions before and after the applicable grade/course.
  • Teaches and assesses the written curriculum (See Policy 6101: Curriculum).
  • Communicates the learning intentions and success criteria to learners and parents regularly and clearly.
  • Communicates learner progress to principals, learners, and parents.
  • Monitors learners’ progress toward the standards.
  • Supports the school's Continuous Learning Plan and professional development plans.
  • Supports the curriculum renewal process.
  • Collaborates effectively with grade/department colleagues regarding data analysis and lesson design and delivery through the PLC process.

Learners:

  • Actively participates and exerts their best effort for meeting or exceeding learning requirements and curriculum standards.

Parent:

  • Reinforces the learning process and promotes a home environment that supports learning.
  • Communicates learner needs to instructional staff.
  • Participates as a partner with instructional staff to promote student learning.

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New Course / Program Approval Process

See Policy 6301: Education Programs & Curriculum Offerings. Staff members interested in initiating any new courses, instructional programs, extracurricular programs, or expanding any currently existing programs will observe the following process:

  • The principal will schedule a meeting with the appropriate Elementary/Secondary Director and the Curriculum Director to discuss the feasibility of the initial idea.
  • After hearing and evaluating the merits of the idea, the Elementary/Secondary Director and Curriculum Director will direct the principal to one of the following options, Form A or Form B:
    • New Course Application–Form A (See New Course Application: Form A)
      • Form A completed by the principal and appropriate school personnel and approval obtained by the Building Principal
      • School Administrator and/or Teacher presents to District Curriculum Committee
      • District Curriculum Committee approves/denies
      • If approved, new course application presented to the superintendent who approves/denies
    • Program Development/Expansion Planning–Form B (See Program Development/Expansion Planning: Form B)
      • Form B completed by appropriate school personnel and approved by the principal
      • Form B returned to Curriculum Director who routes to Elementary/Secondary Director, Business Director, Other Director/Coordinator, if necessary, and Curriculum Director for approval/denial
      • Curriculum Director will forward Form B to the superintendent with approved or denied recommendation
      • Superintendent approves/denies and determines if the proposal requires Board of Trustees approval

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Use of Assessment for the Improvement of Instruction

The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District vision statement, mission statement, belief statements and learning goals provide the foundation for the District Comprehensive Assessment Plan along with the District Strategic Plan and Idaho Content Standards.

Assessment Vision:

Advance excellence in teaching and learning using assessment strategies that yield dependable and actionable information about student achievement through a comprehensive, balanced assessment system.

Assessment Mission:

The District’s Comprehensive Assessment System supports effective decision-making and meets all key user needs by ensuring:

  • Assessment literacy throughout the system.
  • Assessment quality in all contexts.
  • Learners become assessors of their own learning.
  • Communication systems support and report student learning.

See Policy 6501: Testing Program

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Comprehensive Program for Professional Development

Professional Development Planning:

The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District is committed to providing a comprehensive professional development program for the district, school, and individual teacher growth. The purpose of all professional development is to increase student learning and to institutionalize best practices through a wide range of opportunities, from the orientation of new staff to renewal and enrichment for all staff members.  

Professional development is a process that is job-embedded, purposeful, ongoing, and systemic. System-wide professional development supports and recognizes individual school Continuous Learning Plans. These plans, in turn, support the District Continuous Improvement Plan and Idaho Content Standards implementation, which contribute to the overall quality of the written, taught, and assessed curriculum.

Under the umbrella of the District Continuous Improvement Plan, each school will develop and implement a school Continuous Learning Plan based on student achievement data and the professional development needs of the staff. This plan will delineate specific professional development activities for site-based professional learning. Professional development priority will be given to the major areas of need identified in the District Strategic Plan as approved annually by the Board of Trustees. Each school's Continuous Learning Plan will reflect these priorities.

Administrative Internships - Administrative Guidelines:

As university students approach the final stage of their academic preparation in educational leadership, field-based learning/internship experiences are required. The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District #25 partners with universities to provide opportunities for individuals to synthesize and apply acquired leadership knowledge in school settings.

In order to provide a variety of experiences and allow the intern to explore different levels of administration in diverse settings, the district administration retains the right to assign interns based on program parameters communicated by the university. Placement decisions will be made by the Elementary and/or Secondary Directors and require board approval. A successful internship is a cooperative endeavor between the university student, supervising administrator/mentor, and the university internship director.

Procedures and Expectations for Internship Assignment

  1. Prospective administrative interns are required to contact the Elementary or Secondary Director and arrange for a meeting to share information regarding university requirements and placement needs.  Assignment preferences or special accommodations can be reviewed with the Director at this time.
  2. Following the meeting with the intern, the Director will make placement decisions and notify the supervising administrator/mentor and the intern in writing.
  3. Directors will also submit the recommended assignments for board approval at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.
  4. Internship hours will be completed during non-student contact time to minimize the impact of regular teaching or work-related duties.
  5. In order to support the intern in acquiring real-world experience, the district will provide up to four professional leave days for interns who are currently employed by the district, to work on-site with their administrative mentor during the school day. Professional leave to complete internship hours will be arranged through the Director’s office upon request of the supervising administrator working with the intern. The four days will be utilized in settings where the intern has minimum experience, i.e. an intern who works regularly in the high school setting but has minimal experience at the elementary or middle school level. 
  6. Interns are expected to follow all district policies and procedures as well as abide by building-level expectations for staff while working in assigned schools.
  7. Administrative supervisors/mentors are to provide activities aligned with the internship requirements as set forth by the university. Assignments given to interns must include appropriate levels of oversight to ensure that supervisors/mentors maintain full responsibility for administrative functions and duties.
  8. Supervisors/mentors are required to notify and receive approval from the Elementary or Secondary Director before inviting the administrative intern to attend any district-level administrative meetings; i.e. K-12 Administrative Leadership Meeting, Principal Meetings, District Discipline Review Committee (DDRC), Student Hearings, Principal Collaboration, District Curriculum Committee, Instructional Technology Committee, etc. 

New Professional Development Course Proposal Guidelines:

  • Building principals may submit two new course proposals/book studies per year for university credit. The new course/book study proposal must include how the course/book study will align to the school’s Continuous Learning Plan goal(s). Additional courses/book studies may be submitted for approval for district inservice credit.  
  • All proposed courses must be submitted to the Curriculum Department at least four (4) weeks before a course is scheduled to begin.
  • Courses offered for university credit require a minimum of sixteen (16) hours of classroom contact time to award one (1) college credit.

Professional Learning Communities+ (PLC+):

  • What is a PLC? The two main purposes of the PLC+ are (1) to improve the pedagogical knowledge (skills and knowledge about how we teach) and the content knowledge (skills and knowledge about what we teach) of educators through collaboration between colleagues; and (2) to improve the learning outcomes of students.
  • PLC+ provides a framework for the planning and implementation of student learning as well as the professional learning of staff. PLC+ asks teachers to identify:
  1. Where are we going?
  2. Where are we now?
  3. How do we move learning forward?
  4. What did we learn today?
  5. Who benefited and who did not benefit?

The PLC+ framework, led by the guiding questions above, grounds the work of the PLC in both teaching and learning.

  • The work of the PLC+ is a shared responsibility of the Building Leadership Team (BLT).  The BLT is vital to the success of PLC+ within the school.

Stipends

Stipends for Off-Contract Time

  • Stipends are paid for district-sponsored, off-contract time. Classified staff will receive their hourly wage. Certificated employees will receive $22 per hour for any off-contract time authorized by a district administrator.

Stipends for Professional Development Instructors

  • Professional development instructors will receive $1000.00 each time a course is taught.  If two instructors co-teach a class, instructors will each receive $1,000 the first time the course is taught. Thereafter, instructors will receive $500 each. 

Stipends for Professional Development Book Study

  • Professional development book study facilitators may receive a $250 stipend.

Stipends for Mentors

  • Teachers who serve as mentors to teachers in the first year of the profession will receive a $500 stipend; $250 in December and June.

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Recertification

Certificated staff members are required to earn six (6) credits every five (5) years in order to renew their teaching credential. Credits earned must be educationally related to the certification of the staff member. Coaching clinics are not considered educationally related to the certification of a staff member. Three (3) credits must be from an accredited university. Upon approval from the Human Resource Department, certificated staff members currently under contract with PCSD 25 may be reimbursed three (3) credits during each five-year certification cycle at a maximum of $91.50 per credit up to $274.50, funds permitting.

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Instructional Technology

1:1 Chromebook Initiative:

To further enhance the learning environment and increase learner success, the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 (PCSD 25) implemented a 1:1 Chromebook initiative districtwide. 1:1 refers to one Chromebook for every one student. Learners will be assigned a Chromebook for the school year.

OUR WHY Moving to a 1:1 Chromebook environment is a transformational shift for our district. All discussions have been framed around the following rationale:    

  • To provide for equity of opportunity for learners;
  • To provide learners with 21st Century skills; 
  • To enhance student ownership of learning; 
  • To enhance pedagogy of teachers; and 
  • To demonstrate efficient use of resources and fiscal responsibility. 

Process and Protocol for Unblocking Websites:

  • The staff members will email their request to unblock@sd25.us
  • The PCSD 25 Help Desk reviews the request and routes it as either a curriculum request or application request.
  • The Curriculum Department will evaluate requests for efficacy.
  • Technology will evaluate application requests from a technical standpoint.
  • All requests are then routed to the Security Analyst for evaluation.
  • If the request is denied, the staff member will be notified by the Technology Coordinator and provided the rationale.
  • The Technology Coordinator will notify the Instructional Technology Consultant who will add it to the list of non-approved resources on the instructional technology website.
  • If the application request is approved, the Application Specialists or Network Engineer will whitelist the application in the network filter and will contact the teacher to notify them of approval. 
  • The Application Specialist or Network Engineer will notify the Instructional Technology Consultant who will add it to the list of approved resources on the instructional technology website. 

Procedure for Misuse of Technology:

  • In the majority of cases, learners will not be blocked from using the district’s internet. If a learner needs to be blocked, the Elementary/Secondary Director will consult with the principal and Technology Coordinator.
  • Misuse of technology devices and resulting consequences will be handled as a disciplinary issue and recorded in Infinite Campus under ‘Behavior.’
  • At the conclusion of each school year, any ‘blocks’ will be purged. In unique circumstances, the block may be continued upon discussion with the appropriate director.
  • If the principal/parent/student wants the restrictions lifted earlier than the end of the year, the learner may be required to complete Digital Citizenship lessons.

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Additional Resources