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
Personalized Learning Coordinator
651-403-7023 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Curriculum, Data, and Assessment Coordinator
651-403-7015 | 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
- Flexible Learning Days
- Magnet Schools
- K-12 DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
- Read Well by Third Grade
- Teacher Development and Evaluation/Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System
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. 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.
Henry Sibley High School’s comprehensive curriculum enables students to meet their academic goals while also developing their leadership, social and community responsibility objectives. Sibley offer 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. Sibley 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.
This year, School District 197 is introducing “flexible learning days” for students in grades 7-12. These days will take place on October 4, 2019, November 5, 2019, and May 1, 2020.
The need to implement flexible learning days is a result of increasing weather-related cancellations and the district’s responsibility to meet state statute as to the number of hours and days students are to be in school. While a variety of options were explored, a committee of teachers, staff, and parents all agreed to flex learning. They felt the focus should be on ensuring the learning opportunities could be planned in advance, are valuable to student learning, and could be completed by students independently at home. Other Minnesota districts have implemented flexible learning and School District 197 studied and learned from their experiences.
How flexible learning days work:
- Two days prior to a flexible learning day, middle school and high school teachers will assign work that must be completed.
- Students complete the work, which can be done independently and in many cases will be similar to regular homework. This work should take a typical student about 15 minutes per class.
- Students have up to 3 school days following the flexible learning day to turn in the assignment.
If our school district has more than three weather-related cancellations, on the fourth day students in grades 9-12 will participate in teacher-developed e-learning so they can meet their required number of days in order to graduate. More information will be provided on e-learning if it is needed this year. The district will re-evaluate the number of flexible learning days if there are fewer than three cancellations.
Click here to see the revised calendar showing the flexible learning days for grades 7-12.
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.
“Students need digital citizenship skills to participate fully in their communities and make smart choices online and in life. Common Sense Education's K–12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students to think critically and use technology responsibly to learn, create, and participate. Designed and developed in partnership with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education -- and guided by research with thousands of educators -- each digital citizenship lesson helps students build lifelong skills”. www.commonsense.org
In the 2019-2020 school year, School District 197 will roll-out a comprehensive K-12 digital citizenship curriculum. Students will experience lessons from 6 different topics. Lessons will be rolled out to all students in grades 3 - 8. Lessons will be piloted in K-2 and 9 - 12 classrooms.
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.