Director of Curriculum and Instruction

I am fairly new at this position at a private, K-12, (191 students), Christian School in southeastern PA. What should a person in such a position be doing at his/her job everyday, when not in meetings, that is?

Best Answer

  • Eric Pollock
    Eric Pollock Community Member
    edited October 2021 Answer ✓
    When I was the Curriculum Administrator for my former school, I developed and improved the curricula by analyzing the needs of the school, students, and department heads, eliminating outdated and unnecessary courses, and looked to add new ones as the environment of the student body changes. I also created alignment within courses and developed and improved the vertical alignment of classes. Also, you have to analyze the quality of existing curricula and see where students' strengths and weaknesses are. Create surveys for staff and students for new programs and elimination of older programs. Always work towards improvement. I created a few reports each year and created graphs through R using ggplot2 of popular, strong, weak, and any courses in-between to see if I could spot trends such as what courses each gender does better in, what grade levels prefer what courses, and other school demographics info that could be tied to growth and achievement. Let me know how it goes.

    Eric
    [email protected]

Answers

  • Maira Khalid
    Maira Khalid Community Member
    edited August 1

    Hello Eric, my name is Maira Khalid and I am a Middle School teacher in Ontario, Canada. Currently, I am taking a course titled "integrated planning, instruction and assessment" for my "professional master of education" degree at Queen’s University.

    After reading your post I was quite intrigued. I like how your decisions were data driven. How did you shape the curriculum based on students’ needs? What were some of the new programs that you created?

    In the course that I am currently taking I learned about the different philosophical foundations that shaped the curriculum, the conceptions of curriculum and the curriculum designs teachers use. I realized that contemporary curriculum conceptions such as "Social Resconstructionism" and "Humanistic/Personal Relevenace" (also tied to the progressivism philosophical foundation) of curriculum are most popular as they correspond to a problem/society based curriculum design and learner based curriculum design. Recent research suggests that assessments pertaining the learner centered curriculum design and problem/society based curriculum yield a more in-depth knowledge about the curriculum. What were some underlying factors behind the changes you made in the curricula? What was the long term impacts of the changes you made?

  • Eric Pollock
    Eric Pollock Community Member
    One of the first things I did that resulted from student surveys was eliminating classes. Some students felt that a few courses were too easy, and some were too elongated. I eliminated all classes with "Pre-." Everything went. We removed Pre Calculus, Pre Algebra, Pre AP English, and all courses with the word pre. That way, we raised expectations.

    We also require classroom daily lesson plan assessments in any form, and we created our own individual teacher assessment that our school used.

    I was always observing teachers, requesting materials to determine if teachers were following standards, checking off the standards that were followed, and having monthly meetings about standards that needed to be addressed or taken out of the curriculum. Also, I was talking to students a great deal concerning the student culture and the faculty culture. Students were keen observers who noticed much more than we gave them credit for.

    I also checked the data frequently concerning attendance, absences, tardiness, achievement, and growth. To ensure equity, I looked at subsets such as gender, race, and ethnicity. I also supported teachers with professional development and students with professional student development.

    In our high-achieving school, I never needed a job description. Expectations were so high; we felt we were heard, our opinions mattered, and everyone cared about how well we did. That's something that I always look for in a school--the value they place on people--or do people just get lip service?
  • Eric Pollock
    Eric Pollock Community Member
    Plus, if you are at a Christian school or any faith-based school, faith should be built into the curriculum and lesson plans as well.
  • Maira Khalid
    Maira Khalid Community Member
    edited August 2


    Hello Eric, 

    Thankyou for your response. I appreciate that you took students’ opinions for the course evaluations and school culture. Student body is often undermined; however, they can add great value to the observations. 

    Monthly meetings with the teachers regarding the alignment of standards and curriculum Is a great way to ensure teachers are meeting the expectations. The  alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment are crucial in determining whether or not the learning targets are being met. In doing so, was there a particular type of curricular design in the school that commonly guided the teachers’ planning, instruction and evaluation?

    In the course “Integrated Planning, Instruction and Assessment” we discussed the relationships amongst the philosophical foundations of curriculum, conceptions of curriculum and curriculum designs.

    • Philosophical foundations of curriculum (Perennialism, Essentialism, Reconstructionism and Progressivism)
    • Conceptions of curriculum (Academic rationalism, Cognitive processes, Curriculum as technology, Social Reconstructionist, Personal relevance)  
    • Curricular Designs ( Subject Centred, Problem/Society Centred, and Learner Centred) 

    Consequently, we determined what kind of planning, instruction, and assessment would best fit each curriculum design. In partners we created a model showcasing our understanding. I have attached the model in this post. My partner and I believe that an amalgamation of all three curriculum designs would be beneficial for the students, and we extended our understanding by tying the conceptions of curriculum to the different domains of the "Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy". 

    In your practice, did you experience any challenges when evaluating the teacher’s unit plans, instructional strategy and assessments? Did you rely on the curricular designs and the corresponding instructional and assessment strategies to guide them? 

    I would appreciate your feedback on the model we have created. 

    Additionally, you mentioned that if the school is faith-based then that component should be integrated as well. I teach in a faith based school and only recently I started incorporating faith into my Language Arts and History lesson plans. I believe the integration solidifies student learning and helps our organization implement their vision.


    Thankyou for taking the time out to respond. I really appreciate it. 

  • Eric Pollock
    Eric Pollock Community Member
    Hi,

    The curriculum design was always related to standards and what standards were being used, and how you could accomplish them all in one year. That was our overriding principle.

    The challenges were always centered around the unit plans must address standards, and assessments must address the standards and goals of the units. They should be in alignment. For example, a lesson on comparison and contrast should have compare and contrast in the assessment but in any form: a Venn diagram, a paragraph, or an essay. It is up to the teacher what the activity will be, but it must align with the goals and standards of the units and lessons. I relied on the teacher's experience and professionalism. For example, If I say what are you going to do in your class this month and you say we are going to go over Macbeth, that is a feeble and obtuse goal and plan. But if you say we will go over what drives characters to do what they do using compare contrast, narrative, explanation, and so forth using Macbeth as the activity driver, that's more standard-related.
  • Maira Khalid
    Maira Khalid Community Member
    Hello Eric,

    Thankyou for the prompt reply. The standards can certainly guide the curriculum design and in this case clear learning goals/objectives and corresponding success criteria can help one ensure that they were on the right track. The curriculum director in our school laid a strong emphasis on inquiry based learning and inquiry through collaboration especially for the faith based classes as the standards were not specified. Thankyou for sharing your experiences!