Curriculum & Instruction
Cari Jo Drewitz
Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
651-403-7003 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Elementary Curriculum Coordinator
651-403-7026 | email@example.com
Secondary Curriculum and GT Coordinator
MTSS & Personalized Learning Coordinator
651-403-7023 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum and Assessment Admin Specialist
651-403-7009 | email@example.com
School District 197 is committed to a comprehensive process of curriculum planning and assessment to foster continuous improvement of student performance as measured by the highest standards of excellence.
All students will be prepared to excel in an ever changing global society.
The CIA department’s mission is to support learners through a standards based curriculum that includes the skills necessary to excel in a global society. All students will be engaged through personalized learning experiences and a culturally relevant curriculum that leads to student growth and achievement. We will partner with families and community members to support and enrich student learning.
- CURRICULUM REVIEW
- ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
- MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
- HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
- Magnet Schools
- K-12 DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
- Read Well by Third Grade
- Teacher Development and Evaluation/Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System
- Review of Instructional Materials
The district's curriculum undergoes regular review. The review process includes evaluating what is currently being taught, researching best practices in each content area, examining assessment data, correlating outcomes to academic standards, establishing criteria to evaluate resources and recommending changes. Emphasis on differentiation of learning to respond to individual needs of students to ensure success for all is fundamental to the process. The curriculum is focused on results, and a commitment to continually improve student achievement. Implementation of curricular changes are supported by thorough professional development.
Curriculum in School District 197 is reviewed using a six-year cycle of continuous improvement. This process was adopted in the spring of the 2012-13 school year and includes professional development for teachers that is focused on the creation of digital curriculum and the adoption of innovative instructional practices.
Click here for the ten year schedule for curriculum review.
In years 1-3, participating curriculum areas are considered to be in "formal review". In year one a content area team of teachers conducts an in-depth study of the current program to determine its overall effectiveness. Community and staff input is gathered and the team of teachers examines current best practice in curriculum and instruction. Based on the results of the study the team, with assistance from the Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC), identifies strengths and needs of the existing program, creates a vision for future programming and develops Outcomes that Matter to All and Core Beliefs.
During year two content area teams review the current scope and sequence of the curriculum for grades K-12 and assess how it aligns to state and/or national standards and benchmarks. They then create a district curriculum framework/map that identifies the knowledge, skills, and learning targets that students need to know, be able to do, and act upon. Content area teams also select the materials (paper and electronic) needed to implement the revised curriculum and work to ensure the new curriculum and materials are culturally sensitive and non-discriminatory. If applicable or needed, in year two teams will develop digital curriculum for their content area. Teams also plan professional development activities to ensure proper training and support are provided relative to the new curriculum.
During year three each curriculum area moves to the implementation phase where teachers look at the curriculum as taught, identify holes, design common assessments and begin to review at data. The content area team also recommends grouping strategies, identifies how to accelerate or remediate students, and addresses issues relating to students with special needs (ELL and special education). Additionally, in the spring of year three, the content area team will meet to determine if the intended scope and sequence is achievable and identify areas for additional professional development.
Year four of the curriculum review cycle focuses on measurement and ensuring curriculum is being implemented as intended. Staff will pay careful attention to how well students are responding to the new curriculum and ensure that teachers' and parents' questions are answered. Common assessments continue to be reviewed and refined.
During year five, the revising phase, teams adjust implementation procedures and implement changes as needed. The curriculum is evaluated in terms of how well it is working and where modifications need to be made. Common assessments continue to be reviewed and refined. In the refining phase, year six, teams continue to refine the curriculum. They determine if adjustments are needed and implement them accordingly. Common assessments continue to be reviewed and refined.
School District 197’s elementary schools provide an environment that fosters curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. The elementary curriculum provides students with the basic skills necessary for success in subsequent years. The curriculum, in magnet and non-magnet schools, allows for student inquiry and hands on learning through instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, physical education and more. Technology is integrated throughout to enhance learning.
Students in School District 197’s middle schools dive deeper into the core subjects introduced in elementary school, following rigorous curriculum that meets state standards. Students have the opportunity to explore new disciplines such as world language, technology education, and family and consumer science. Students also have the option of taking band, orchestra or choir. All curricular subject areas work collaboratively, incorporating technology and linking learning to the real world.
Two Rivers High School’s comprehensive curriculum enables students to meet their academic goals while also developing their leadership, social and community responsibility objectives. Two Rivers offers a rigorous curriculum that challenges students and prepares them for post-secondary colleges and careers. Technology in the classroom allows students to take learning to new levels and prepares them for life beyond high school. Two Rivers offers more than 150 courses (with traditional and hybrid formats) in a variety of subject areas, including fine arts, Advanced Placement (AP) and Project Lead the Way, as well as opportunities to take college-level courses such as College in the Schools (CIS) and Seniors to Sophomores programs.
To provide families with more choices to find the right school for their child, School District 197 includes four magnet schools in addition to neighborhood schools. Magnet schools offer the same rigorous curriculum as other schools, but magnet schools integrate specialized themes ("magnet programs") designed to meet the learning interests and strengths of each child.
School District 197's magnet schools are:
Garlough Environmental Magnet School (Grades K-4)
Offers a rigorous environmental studies program emphasizing science, technology and math
Moreland Arts & Health Sciences Magnet School (Grades K-4)
Features an arts-infused curriculum supported by effective practices in health and fitness
Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School (Grades K-4)
Focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, with projects related to scientific discovery and problem solving
Heritage E-STEM Magnet School (Grades 5-8)
Provides a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, with projects and field experiences related to the environment
All four magnet schools provide:
- Academically rigorous classes that meet state standards
- Group projects and learning experiences
- Attention to individual student learning needs
- Up-to-date technology throughout the building
- A focus on inquiry that teaches students to ask questions that help them learn
- Bus transportation from any location within the school district in accordance with the district’s busing guidelines.
- Special education services, however, based on the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and level of need, a placement in another district school may be determined.
BACKGROUND OF MAGNET SCHOOLS IN DISTRICT 197
Garlough Environmental Magnet School has been operational as a magnet school since 2007, making it School District 197's first magnet. Garlough was formed in partnership with Dodge Nature Center, and offers the same core curriculum as the district’s other elementary schools but with a nature-based theme integrated into every class. Garlough has gained numerous state and national recognitions, including being named a National Magnet School of Excellence in 2009-2011, 2014 and 2015; and a National Magnet School of Distinction in 2016 and 2018.
Encouraged by Garlough's success and seeking ways to offer parents more school choices, District 197 applied for and received a federal magnet grant to develop three new magnet programs, starting in 2010. This grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) provided funding for establishing Heritage E-STEM Magnet School, Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School and Moreland Arts & Health Sciences Magnet School. These schools' magnet themes were selected after extensive study by school staff as well as surveys and focus groups with current and prospective parents throughout the district.
Digital media and technology continue to evolve at breakneck speeds. Today's students have exponential access to devices when compared to those just a generation before. Let's take a quick look at some data from Common Sense Media and keep in mind that this was just before the pandemic - 2019.
Kids and teens are using the immense power of the internet and mobile technologies to explore, connect, create, and learn in ways never before imagined. But with this power come ethical dilemmas and challenging issues, such as cyberbullying, hate speech, privacy violations, digital distraction, and more, which are surfacing both in schools and at home. This is why we are intentionally implementing digital citizenship curriculum district-wide that provides developmentally appropriate lessons for students each year. Digital Citizenship can be defined as the responsible use of technology to learn, create, and participate The foundation of our curriculum materials comes from Common Sense Media, an independent nonprofit that is research-backed and experts in the field. There are, on average, six lessons that correlate to the six topics below that students will learn about:
To learn more about the content covered in these lessons as well as the research supporting this body of work, check out the following resource. For parent and guardian tools to support your student's use of technology, check out our Tech Resources page.
The school district and the West St. Paul Federation of Teachers has a joint agreement for teacher evaluation which includes the use of the Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System (ATPPS).
Every licensed staff member/teacher will:
- Complete a professional growth goal and plan based on student achievement or standards of practice
- Be observed/evaluated three times, by more than one trained evaluator, during the course of the year
- Complete a summative evaluation that looks at observation/evaluation ratings and ensures at least 75% proficiency
Probationary teachers shall be formally observed/evaluated by district and/or building administrators at least three times during the year.
Continuing contract teachers not on high-cycle shall be formally observed/evaluated by Instructional Peer Coaches at least three times during the year.
Continuing contract teachers on high-cycle (once every three years) will be observed/evaluated at least twice by a building and/or district administrator and once by an Instructional Peer Coach.
ATPPS pairs continuing contract (tenured) teachers with peer coaches who help teachers develop annual goals and action plans that address professional growth and student achievement. Throughout the school year, the peer coaches observe and evaluate teachers, then meet with teachers to discuss progress on their goals and provide constructive feedback on their teaching methods and classroom interactions.
ATPPS provides additional resources and supports for probationary teachers through the new teacher mentor program.
Teachers in School District 197 have reported that the ATPPS program has improved classroom instruction by helping them establish personalized goals and allowing them to reflect on their teaching. As a result of meeting with their instructional peer coaches (IPC) teachers shared they are more conscious about their instructional decisions, more focused on student learning and more aware of classroom practices.
The district's ATPPS program is overseen by the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.
Minnesota Statute requires districts to have a procedure for a parent/guardian to review the instructional materials that are used in their children’s classes. To review materials, parents/guardians should reach out to their student's site administrator.
Parents/guardians may request that their child not be required to use specific instructional materials. The procedure for such a request can be obtained from a student's site administrator.
Parents/guardians may request that the use of specific instructional materials be reconsidered. The procedure for making reconsiderations requests can be found below. (A Spanish chart can be found here.) The procedure starts with an informal request. If there is no resolution than the formal process starts. The process begins with the parent/guardian/student contacting the student's teacher.
Parents/guardians should reach out to their student's site administrator or the district's curriculum office with any questions about the process.
To view School Board Policy 606.1, click here.