Teaching and Learning
Mr. Ruben Gutierrez (Bio)
The Office of Curriculum and Instruction is dedicated to providing the students of Riverside Elementary School District No.2 with a challenging and rewarding education. Our PreK-8 curriculum strictly follows the Arizona Core Curriculum Content Standards in each academic area. Our office works hard to ensure that we offer students a variety of courses that prepare them for the rigors of their academic career. In addition, Riverside’s curriculum helps build character and pride in all students so they can successfully meet the challenges in their lives. Highly-qualified teachers, top-notch materials, and cutting-edge technology provide our students with the education they need to succeed in the 21st century and beyond.
The Office of Curriculum and Instruction is comprised of the district Teaching and Learning Associate Superintendent Ruben B. Gutierrez and seven Collaborative Peer Teachers at each school site to ensure that we incorporate the Arizona State standards into our daily lesson plans. These seven instructional leaders collaborate on a daily basis to deliver outstanding PreK-8 curriculum and instruction to all the students in Riverside Elementary School District
The Curriculum Renewal Model is a multi-year, five-step, cyclical process by which all district curricula are analyzed and designed in a systematic and collaborative manner. The process provides for a comprehensive evaluation of each district content program, an inclusive development process, a thoughtful and careful implementation, as well as revisions based on experience and time for the program effectiveness to be realized.
This process is to be under the direction of the appropriate Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction in conjunction with the applicable standing curriculum committee. The role of the committee is to provide direction and support to all individuals involved in each phase of the model.
Step One: Program Evaluation
Program Evaluation is the process of comparing the district’s actual program to the ideal program. We determine the ideal program by conducting a comprehensive review of research and recommendations of best practice, in addition to reviewing state and national standards in the given field. A variety of data is gathered and reviewed in determining the actual program. This data might include, but would not be limited to:
The Program Evaluation is the systematic comparison of the ideal program that has been conceptualized through research and the actual program that has been described and assessed by collecting data. To prepare for this phase, research materials and literature are obtained. The evaluation, which is conducted by a district team consisting of staff members, school leaders, and community members, reveals areas of strength in the current program as well as deficiencies that need to be addressed in future curriculum development. It is critical that the program evaluation, which includes broad recommendations for revision and curriculum design, be shared with all stakeholders in the community including the Board of Education. Developing agreement and a shared vision for moving a program forward paves the way for smooth curriculum design and implementation. The budget focus during this phase is on planning for curriculum decisions and development during the following year.
Step Two: Curriculum Design
The Curriculum Design process begins with a district curriculum design team consisting of district staff and administrators agreeing on a shared vision for the content area program and developing short and long-term mission statements that will lead to the fulfillment of the vision. During the Curriculum Design process, all program options are considered and pilots may take place to determine the effectiveness of options. The pilots are carefully evaluated and research-based decisions are made regarding content, scope, and sequence. This is the stage in which actual curriculum is designed and written. Involvement of staff and administration is critical at this stage. Design teams generally use recognized curriculum design models such as Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe, 1998).
This model allows for a team to design and write curriculum during the school year prior to implementation. This provides teachers with an opportunity to study the curriculum, engage in professional development, and plan for teaching the new curriculum over the summer. Therefore, all new and revised curricula are completed and approved by the Board of Education in May or June prior to a September implementation.
During this stage, the team plans ahead for the program evaluation four years hence. The foundations of program evaluation should be established during this stage. Benchmarks for program success should be set, i.e. indicators should be established that would measure if the program is working. The design team plans for the dissemination of the curriculum, professional development, and materials distribution and support. Planning and budgeting of resources are done for program implementation the following year.
Step Three: Initial Implementation - Pilot Classrooms
Initial Implementation is the stage in which the curriculum is put into practice in a cross-section of classrooms. Staff development is a strong focus during this stage. Workshops are planned during the prior school year and/or summer to support the implementation. District staff development time at the beginning of the school year should be used to provide additional staff training for successful implementation.
Other support systems for teachers can and should be put into place by a standing curriculum committee for the content area. Supports might include email support, a mentor system, a buddy system, developing teacher leadership in the content area, or other strategies. Time should be allocated from the department/team level meetings to articulate about the new curriculum. Checkpoints should be established to gather feedback from students, parents, and teachers and adjustments in implementation and staff development could be made along the way.
Program observations are conducted during this year. Observations of teacher performance in implementing the new curriculum should be de-emphasized since teachers are in a learning stage. Emphasis during the observation process should be placed on the program by looking for correct implementation and interpretation of the curriculum, continuity in delivery, and other important support aspects of implementation. Observations should be considered staff development opportunities for teachers rather than performance evaluations. Lesson plans and unit plans should be assessed broadly to obtain understanding of program implementation. This information should be used to impact the staff development program to provide continued support. Based on the data gathered, minor revisions in the program will be needed for the following year. Budgeting should be done for the revisions in the next year.
Step Four: Curriculum Revision
The Curriculum Revision phase is an important component which is often excluded from most long-term curriculum plans. More often, new or revised curricula are implemented and attention to the curriculum decreases. Close attention to collecting feedback and data regarding implementation and minor refinements can significantly extend the “shelf life” of the curriculum. Revisions are based on data gathered during the initial implementation, feedback from teachers, administrators, students, and parents. Staff development should continue to provide support for teachers in their continued acclimation to the program. Data should continue to be gathered. Observation of teacher performance is appropriate during this stage. Continued support of the program will be required, especially for new staff to the district. Budgeting for replenishment of materials and purchase of materials to accommodate enrollment growth and new staff should be done.
Step Five: Full Implementation
During Full Implementation the program is operational in all the target classrooms. Staff development is a strong focus during this stage as well. Workshops are planned during the summer to support full implementation. District staff development time at the beginning of the school year should be used to provide additional staff training for successful implementation. Teachers are implementing curriculum and instruction in direct alignment with the newly established program. This full implementation continues throughout the curriculum evaluation and development years. This is a stage to continue to collect data for a comprehensive program evaluation the following year. Staff development could be done in needed areas and continued support of the program will be required. Observation of teacher performance is again appropriate during this stage.
The Curriculum Renewal process is a systematic and collaborative process for curriculum evaluation, design, and implementation. It is designed to contribute to a climate of stability and thoughtful change. The phased approach facilities the purposeful implementation of programs and allows teachers to focus on fewer areas at a time rather than being overwhelmed by multiple change initiatives. The model is designed to facilitate effective and fiscally responsible use of district resources, as well as clear direction and information for budget planning.
Riverside Elementary School District No. 2 is presently providing the following academic support services for the 2013-2014 school year. For more information, please view our state collaborator partnership descriptions or contact Ruben B. Gutierrez at (602) 477-8900.