by Heather Kent, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada Flintridge, CA
For the last four years at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, we have been working on developing curriculum maps in Atlas. During this time, I have worn two ‘hats’- that of a full time teacher who develops and updates their maps, and that of a member of our curriculum mapping core team. As we enter the fifth year of mapping, I find myself as one of the two core team leaders in charge of overseeing the team and facilitating the ongoing curriculum mapping process for our faculty.
It takes a mentor
This transition from being a teacher who peripherally helps with using Atlas and the curriculum mapping process, towards someone in charge of the majority of curriculum mapping is exciting and at times daunting. I am thrilled to be taking on a leadership role and particularly look forward to helping to develop and run PD workshops & in-services, working with my co-leader (I’m learning so much from her), and knowing that my new roll helps my fellow co-leader manage her workload while allowing us to continue to move forward with curriculum mapping. I find that right now, I struggle to consider the big picture in regards to the overall school curriculum and all departments. As a full time teacher, this hasn’t been a focus for me in the past and I am still learning how to switch gears to this mindset (while still working on my own individual maps in Atlas).
A large reason I now find myself as co-lead is because as we worked on developing our curriculum and using Atlas, it became apparent in the last year or two that it isn’t realistic for one person to successfully manage the various initiatives and goals based around curriculum mapping on top of their day to day role at school. I am joining someone who has already been in charge of curriculum mapping for a few years, and who is also our Librarian/Resource Specialist. Because her role requires her to come in contact with numerous classes, curricula, and departments throughout the year, she has a very concrete understanding of the big picture.
Celebrate the accomplishments
We are nearly through the first semester and it is rewarding to realize how much we have accomplished, including:
- Recruited a new core team with members representing nearly every department.
- Nearly every department has a working Scope and Sequence that will help us continue to develop curriculum.
- The core team has been working to revise some of our current standards with the goal of having a common/shared language for faculty when discussing curriculum design and to provide a framework of skills that, as a faculty, we agree are essential skills we all teach and build upon all 4 years.
- My co-leader and I are starting a pilot program for reviewing faculty units/maps and providing more comprehensive feedback (using our improved rubric and a feedback template). In the past when we gave feedback, it was often verbal or in an email and therefore difficult to keep track of. This method will give us a single place to keep track of information and allow us to easily identify faculty who, for example, are doing an exemplary job and could be a resource for others.
Ready to Move Forward
The amount of work we’ve already completed is more than we have ever completed within a semester, due to a few key factors:
- The new core team, which is taking a significantly more active role than in the past
- Having two leads. This has allowed us to get more work done, including preparing tasks for the core team and planning and implementing faculty in-services.
- This year we reached a point in our curriculum mapping process where we were ready to move forward. A large amount of what we are doing this year is based on discoveries that occurred in the last few years as we began to populate our curriculum maps. We began to see that there were areas within our curriculum that needed to be revised or created.
How Heather used Atlas to Support Her Role as a Curriculum Lead
Heather sat down and talked with us the last time she was in Portland and shared how she was going to use her My Atlas Dashboard to support her role. Take a look at what she had to say:Heather Kent is a full time teacher at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, where she teaches Ceramics and Sculpture.
We appreciate Heather taking the time to share her story with us!