Every school has their own culture and history to be taken into account when introducing or reinvigorating curriculum initiatives. We met Jean Levis, from Greenwood School in Florida, this past April when her team came to the Rubicon Leadership Institute. She spent three days with us planning curriculum writing goals, reviewing curriculum, and creating protocols to take back to support her own process. Here is her story 6 months after their time with us in Portland…
Heading back to Florida after the workshop ended, she decided their first big step was to establish a curriculum committee. (This is a small team of four people who will help guide the process for introducing the curriculum initiative.) This team worked together to create goals and objectives as well as engaging activities to share with their entire curriculum writing team, which included all teachers.
1. The Curriculum Quilt: Setting the Stage
They ended their conversation with the Priorities for our Lively Maps, which was really well received by their colleagues, and gave purpose and clarity to the initiative! Priorities included:
- Streamline the template to promote clarity and ease of use. (Make your work easier.)
- Increase uniformity in the format/ syntax of our maps. (Make the maps clearer.)
- Create a template model to remind us of the ways in which maps need to be uniform.
- Increase creativity, richness, texture, liveliness with: more vivid, specific description of activities/assessments and attachments that display the full multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary nature of our work.
2. Capturing the Curriculum: Faculty Feedback
3. Developing an Identity
4. Next Steps
Always look to the future! Having clear objectives helps promote buy-in by showing the longevity of the process. Long term thinking may initially take up more of your time. The addition of a committee, buy in meetings, and changes to the structure of how things are done will be well worth the extra time they take. This invested time will solidify quality results and a sure footing for years to come:
- The curriculum will be readable.
- More teachers will participate as their concerns will have been addressed.
- Everyone will be trained to use the tool.
- We will all understand the ultimate goal.
- Teachers will be more apt to keep things up-to-date in a well thought out template for development.
Having the Priorities for mapping established and actionable next steps will ensure Greenwood’s curriculum process thrives. Jean shares an example of one of their more immediate next steps.