Curriculum and Instructional Blueprints Available for Review

October 1, 2001
Elementary and middle schools soon will receive the next set of materials in a systemwide curriculum revision process: Curriculum, Assessment and Instructional (CAI) Blueprints in English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

The blueprints are intended to serve as a bridge between the curriculum framework adopted by the Board of Education on July 2 and instructional guides and assessment measures that will be developed by next summer. (The actual instructional guides will contain more detailed unit outlines, model lessons that include suggestions for differentiating instruction, sample assessments and other resources.)

Teachers and other professional staff are being invited to help make the blueprints even stronger by piloting and reviewing them this school year and providing feedback. Plenty of white space is provided for teachers to write suggestions and share ideas. The feedback will be used to help revise the blueprints and develop instructional guides for use in all elementary and middle schools starting with the 2002-2003 school year.

At the September 24 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast emphasized that the school system is not implementing a new curriculum; rather, it is undertaking an effort to strengthen the current curriculum by providing more rigor and challenge for all students and aligning curriculum with standards. Through the curriculum framework, blueprints and future instructional guides, MCPS is making efforts to have more precise knowledge of what students know and are able to do at each grade level; provide support to teachers and principals to help improve achievement; provide information to parents so they can be more involved; and address the needs of students. "We hope it will help eliminate students being passed on from grade level to grade level without being able to do the work," Weast said.

Organization and dissemination

The curriculum framework organizes the content of each discipline by standards. The CAI Blueprints take the process a step further, organizing standards and performance indicators of each content area into instructional units. The blueprint documents are organized by grade, subject and unit or quarter, depending on the content.

Middle school teachers of English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies will receive blueprints for their subject for all three grade levels. For example, Grade 6 English teachers will have blueprints for Grades 6, 7 and 8 English. Elementary teachers will receive blueprints for all subjects they teach, not only for their own grade level but also for the preceding and following year.

Communication and feedback

Staff development on using the blueprint documents is being provided through school performance support teams, consulting teachers, reading specialists, staff development teachers and instructional specialists.

Councils on Teaching and Learning from the Montgomery County Education Association and representatives from the Montgomery County Association of Administrative and Supervisory Personnel also will review the documents and provide feedback. They also will be shared with content area advisory committees including parents, teachers, community members and content experts.

To help facilitate communication, videotapes will be disseminated to schools, community groups and business partners. Talking points are being developed for principals and teachers to help them provide information to parents. In addition, parent guides to the curriculum framework will be distributed to schools, and information will be shared at MCCPTA cluster meetings and through other venues.

The CAI Blueprint documents have been posted on the curriculum revision page on the MCPS website at the link below. In addition, hard copies are available in elementary and middle school media centers, along with a hard copy feedback form.

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