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How to Use the Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

This guide is designed to provide resources and guidance to schools, districts, curriculum consortia and others at multiple access points and stages of curriculum development. It allows educators to find pertinent information for a wide range of topics that inform the curriculum development process--from the legal foundations in Montana law and rules to classroom level instructional strategies and assessment. Use the topic outline to access information across the curriculum development spectrum.

This is a guide. It is not exhaustive in its depth or in the number of resources, but it is specifically designed for Montana educators to look with intention and clear guidance at improving the process of curriculum development in Montana schools.

Cycle of Curriculum Development...

Curriculum Development Guide
Cycle of Curriculum Developement Review Process Implement Curriculum Present to Board of Trustees Establish Curriculm Committe Determine Readiness

Curriculum development is a continuous process. The phases described in this chart are a suggested progression. An emphasis on examination of resources, public comment, professional feedback and implementation planning is essential to ensure a successful outcome for curriculum development and revision.

 

Review Process and Plan
for Future Revision

Implement Curriculum

  1. Implement Professional Development Plans
  2. Create Comprehensive Assessment System
  3. Update Curriculum Revision Schedule in Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP)

Present to Board of Trustees

  1. Notice of Public Hearings and Timeline for Adoption

Establish Curriculum Committee(s)

  1. Conduct Curriculum Committee Work Sessions
  2. Gather Feedback on Draft Documents
  3. Finalize Curriculum Document
  4. Create Implementation and Professional Development Plans

Determine Readiness

Readiness Checklist
  1. Develop Communication Plan and Timeline
  2. Gather Research and Materials
  3. Conduct Focus Groups

Determine Readiness...

Curriculum Development Guide
  1. Develop Communication Plan and Timeline
  2. Gather Research and Materials
  3. Conduct Focus Groups

Download Readiness Checklist

Level of Readiness

  • Have Not Begun
  • Just Underway
  • Making Good Progress
  • Successfully Completed
  • Prepared to Share with Others

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Outcomes

The content standards and essential learning expectations for each grade and subject area have been identified and are known to the teachers expected to teach them.

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development


  • Have Not Begun
  • Just Underway
  • Making Good Progress
  • Successfully Completed
  • Prepared to Share with Others

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Teachers have "mapped" their grade level and/or subject matter standards onto an annual school calendar thus producing instructional "pacing charts" where critical milestones and benchmarks are known.

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development


  • Have Not Begun
  • Just Underway
  • Making Good Progress
  • Successfully Completed
  • Prepared to Share with Others

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Student assessments have been identified or developed and aligned with the standards.

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development


  • Have Not Begun
  • Just Underway
  • Making Good Progress
  • Successfully Completed
  • Prepared to Share with Others

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Individual teachers use the pacing charts and formative assessments to plan and deliver classroom instruction.

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development


  • Have Not Begun
  • Just Underway
  • Making Good Progress
  • Successfully Completed
  • Prepared to Share with Others

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Throughout the school year teachers engage in horizontal (e.g., grade level) and vertical (e.g., cross-grade level) conversations to be sure that every student has an opportunity to master ALL essential learning expectations required for student success at the next grade level.

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

 

Establish Curriculum Committees...

Curriculum Development Guide
  1. Conduct Curriculum Committee Work Sessions
  2. Gather Feedback on Draft Documents
  3. Finalize Curriculum Document
  4. Create Implementation and Professional Development Plans

Consider the list below when selecting members for curriculum development focus groups and committees. The curriculum committee should be inclusive of all stakeholders. The committee chair should be determined by the district leadership team. Determine which stakeholders will participate in the full process and those who will help to provide feedback and expert review during the development cycle. 

Download Committee Descriptions
Download Suggested Work Session Goals

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
District Leadership
  • superintendent
  • curriculum/assessment director
  • building principal(s)
committee chair
committee member
focus group facilitator
checkmanage process
checkprovide resources to support process
Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Trustee Representative(s) committee member

checklink to Board of Trustees
checklink to community

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Teachers
  • primary grades
  • middle grades
  • high school
committee chair
committee member
focus group participant

checkcontent specialized teachers verify content
checkcontent specialized teachers verify learning progressions K-12
checkprovide assessment expertise

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Teacher-librarians committee member
focus group participant
checkprovide insight into resources and instructional practice
checkprovide expertise in the inclusion of information and technology literacy in all curricula

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Specialists
  • reading and mathematics coaches
  • gifted and talented
  • technology
  • special education
  • career and technical education
  • fine and performing arts
committee member
focus group participant

checkprovide cross-curricular representation
checkprovide cross-grade expertise
checkprovide instructional expertise

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Indian Education for All (IEFA) Specialists committee member
focus group participant
checklink to resources and best practices for implementing IEFA in curriculum

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Guidance Counselors focus group participant checklink to career development
checklink to students

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Parent Representative(s) committee member
focus group participant
checklink to community
checklink to local concerns and issues

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Student Representative(s) committee member
focus group participant
checklink to learners
checkhelp check for relevance and engagement

 

Stakeholder Group Suggested Roles Expertise
Business And Community Representative(s) focus group participant checklink to community
checklink to local concerns and issues

Present to Board of Trustees...

Curriculum Development Guide
  1. Notice of Public Hearings and Timeline for Adoption

Implement Professional Development Plans...

Curriculum Development Guide
  1. Implement Professional Development Plans
  2. Create Comprehensive Assessment System
  3. Update Curriculum Revision Schedule in Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP)

Review Process and Plan for Future Revision...

Curriculum Development Guide

Under Construction...

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

This guide is intended to provide a consistent and clear definition of the Montana standards-based education philosophy as well as practical information and resources to assist in the implementation of curricula aligned with the content and performance standards.

The Guide to Model Curriculum Development is a dynamic page that will be periodically updated with additional content and resources. You are encouraged to use the "Comments" section to help us identify areas that are useful and to suggest additional content and resources. Please check back frequently.

Purpose of the Guide...

Curriculum Development Guide

The Montana Guide to Curriculum Development is a resource for school districts for developing, reviewing and revising a standards-based curriculum. Local district responsibility for curriculum development is established by the Board of Public Education in Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 10.55.603 Curriculum and Assessment and 10.55.701 Board of Trustees. In ARM 10.55.601 Accreditation Standards, the responsibility of the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) to "provide guidance, resources, and evaluation to assist in the implementation of district and school plans to improve teaching and learning for all students …" is established.

This guide is intended to provide a consistent and clear definition of the Montana standards-based education philosophy as well as practical information and resources to assist in the implementation of curricula aligned with the content and performance standards.

Montana's public schools are varied in size and resources. While some schools belong to curriculum consortia (e.g., Golden Triangle, ACE, Prairie View Curriculum Consortium or Northwest Montana Educational Coop), or collectively plan and design curriculum with other schools, many schools do not have the benefit of a curriculum director or participate in consortia. This guide can serve as a resource for those schools that wish to use it as they review or revise local curricula in accordance with the administrative rules referenced above.

This guide will provide an integrated access point to resources and guidance for curriculum development.

Theory and Research Supporting the Montana Guide to Curriculum Development...

Curriculum Development Guide

Delineating the underpinnings for a theory of a Montana guide to curriculum development is a challenging task. First, the theory needs to refer to the giants—the writers and thinkers in the field whose work helps to define our task. The theory should explain how the structure of knowledge is related to a model for curriculum. It should also reference what research tells us about how people learn best. Finally, the theory should provide users of the curriculum guide with enough direction to help ensure that materials, tasks, and products exemplify the principles around which the theory has been developed—in a user friendly format.

Download Complete Theory and Research Supporting the Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Montana Correlates of Effective Schools...

Curriculum Development Guide

Academic Performance

Correlate 1: Curriculum
The school develops and implements a curriculum that is rigorous, intentional, and aligned to state standards.

Correlate 2: Assessment
The school utilizes multiple evaluation and assessment strategies to continuously monitor and modify instruction to meet student needs and support proficient student work.

Correlate 3: Instruction
The school's instructional program actively engages all students by using effective, varied, and research-based practices to improve student academic performance.

Learning Environment
Correlate 4: School Culture
The school/district functions as an effective learning community and supports a climate conducive to performance excellence.
 
Correlate 5: Student, Family, and Community Support
The school/district works with families and community groups to remove barriers to learning in an effort to meet the intellectual, social, career, and developmental needs of students.

Correlate 6: Professional Growth, Development, and Evaluation
The school/district provides research-based, results-driven professional development opportunities for staff and implements performance evaluation procedures in order to improve teaching and learning.

Efficiency

Correlate 7: Leadership
School/district instructional decisions focus on support for teaching and learning, organizational direction, high performance expectations, creating a learning culture, and developing leadership capacity.

Correlate 8: Organizational Structure and Resources
The organization of the school/district maximizes use of time, all available space and other resources to maximize teaching and learning, and supports high student and staff performance.

Correlate 9: Comprehensive and Effective Planning
The school/district develops, implements, and evaluates a comprehensive school improvement plan that communicates a clear purpose, direction, and action plan focused on teaching and learning.

Glossary...

Curriculum Development Guide

Download Glossary

 
Academic Expectations Learning goals that characterize student achievement.
Accommodate Changes made in the way materials are presented or in the way students respond to the materials, as well as changes in setting, pacing and scheduling, with the expectation that the student will reach or exceed the standards.
Articulation (as related to curriculum) The school/district aligned curriculum must be well communicated to all stakeholders, implemented district wide/school wide, integrated across disciplines and connected to real-life situations.

Vertical articulation or alignment indicates that the curriculum is carefully planned and sequenced from beginning learning and skills to more advanced learning and skills. Vertical articulation speaks to what is taught from preschool through upper grades and is sometimes noted simply as "K-12 Curriculum."

Horizontal articulation or alignment indicates that the curriculum is carefully planned within grade levels.
Assessment The measurement of student performance based on the expectations outlined in the standards. A comprehensive system of assessment includes a continuum of formative, interim, and summative measures of student progress.
Authentic Assessment A broad evaluation procedure that includes a student's performance or demonstration and reflects the actual learning experience. Performance criteria are clearly communicated and evidence of learning collected (i.e., portfolios, journals, observations, taped readings, videotaping, conferencing, etc.). The products or performances assessed reflect "real world" applications.
Benchmarks The benchmarks define expectations for students' knowledge and skills along a developmental continuum. They define expectations for proficient students at the end of grade 4, end of grade 8, and upon graduation. Their purpose is to state clearly and specifically what the students should know and be able to do within each content standard. A district's curriculum should include the entire progression of knowledge contained in the benchmarks.
Big Ideas Describe in student-friendly language any of a number of other more formal ways of talking about conceptual understanding including principles, generalizations, concepts, enduring understandings, and essential questions.

 

Bloom, Benjamin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Bloom

Bruner, Jerome

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Bruner

Carter, Lisa

http://www.totalinstructionalalignment.com/

Concepts

An organizing idea that is timeless, abstract or broad, and is represented by one or two words.

Abstract: Concepts stimulate higher-level thinking by causing students to rise above the fact base to gain understanding.
Timeless: Concepts remain constant even though the fact base that supports the concepts may change over time.
Universal: Concepts can be applied across the fields of knowledge.

Concepts may be very broad macro-concepts such as "change," "system," or "interdependence;" or they may be more topic specific, such as "organism," "habitat," or "government." Macro-concepts add breadth to the study, topic-specific concepts add depth.

Content Standards

The content standards indicate what all students should know, understand, and be able to do in a content area. Their purpose is to guide the curriculum and to communicate the breadth of the knowledge and skills to be taught to all students. A district's curriculum should be designed so that learning encompasses all content area standards.

Cultural Responsiveness

Teaching that uses the cultural knowledge, prior experiences and performance styles of diverse students to make learning more appropriate and effective for them; it teaches to and through the strengths of these students.

Curriculum

The organization of standards into a plan that describes the manner (sequence, for how long) in which the standards will be taught and assessed; an organized course of study that engages students in learning the standards that have been identified at the national, state and local level.

Curriculum Map An outline of the implemented curriculum; what is taught and when it is actually taught.

 

Curriculum Mapping Curriculum mapping is an on-going process for planning and recording the knowledge, content and skills to be taught in a classroom over a period of time. It then serves as a resource for the school and district to identify any gaps or overlaps in the curriculum. The map is realigned to standards and assessments. Student performance can validate alignment and assist in planning for curricular improvement. Curriculum mapping is an ongoing process that is never complete.

Curriculum mapping is "a process that helps teachers keep track of what has actually been taught throughout the entire year or course. By mapping what is actually taught and when it is taught, teachers produce data that they can use in conjunction with assessment data to make cumulative revisions in instruction." (Jacobs)
Dewey, John http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dewey
Differentiation A philosophy that involves giving students multiple options for taking in information, making sense of ideas, and expressing what they learn. It provides different avenues to acquire content, to process or make sense of ideas and to develop products.
Enduring Understandings Enduring understandings are statements summarizing important ideas (Principles and Generalization) and core processes that are central to a discipline and have lasting value beyond the classroom. They synthesize what students should understand—not just know or do—as a result of studying a particular content area. Moreover, they articulate what students should "revisit" over the course of their lifetimes in relationship to the content area.

Enduring understandings:
  1. frame the big ideas that give meaning and lasting importance to such discrete curriculum elements as facts and skills;
  2. can transfer to other fields as well as adult life;
  3. "unpack" areas of the curriculum where students may struggle to gain understanding or demonstrate misunderstandings and misconceptions;
  4. provide a conceptual foundation for studying the content area; and,
  5. are deliberately framed as declarative sentences that present major curriculum generalizations and recurrent ideas.

 

Erickson, H. Lynn http://www.corwin.com/authorDetails.nav?contribId=503028
Essential Learning Expectations (ELE) The Essential Learning Expectations are specific statements of what all students should know and be able to do at a grade level. It measures student progress toward meeting a Benchmark.
Essential Questions
Specific open-ended, thought-provoking questions that probe the factual, conceptual and philosophical levels of understanding and create interest and the "need to know."

Educators are fighting a long school history of topical research. For decades students have been sent to the library to "find out about" some topic. This tradition has led to information gathering but little analysis or thought. Essential questions set students and staff free from this tedious and wasteful ritual. Inquiry becomes motivating and meaningful.
 
An essential question has the following attributes:
  1. Essential questions reside at the top of Bloom's Taxonomy. They require students to EVALUATE (make a thoughtful choice between options, with the choice based upon clearly stated criteria), to SYNTHESIZE (invent a new or different version) or to ANALYZE (develop a thorough and complex understanding through skillful questioning).
  2. Essential questions spark our curiosity and sense of wonder. They derive from some deep wish to understand something which matters to us.
  3. Essential questions engage students in the kinds of real life applied problem solving suggested by nearly every new curriculum report or outline curriculum standards such as the NCTM and the Science Standards.
  4. Essential questions usually lend themselves well to multidisciplinary investigations, requiring that students apply the skills and perspectives of math and language arts while wrestling with content from social studies or science.
Essential Vocabulary Vocabulary that students must know and apply to successfully meet the essential learning expectations.

The Essential Vocabulary includes only those words a student would expect to find on summative assessments. There are many other words students and teachers should be using on a daily basis to build and demonstrate understanding of a concept.

 

Facts and Skills Defined in the Montana Content Standards, provide the details of what students should know and be able to do within a content area.
Generalizations 
Two or more concepts stated as a relationship--essential learnings or understandings; the "big ideas" related to the critical concepts or topics of a study.
Instruction The use of various strategies and methods to teach the standards. Instruction is informed by student achievement, learning targets, and other variables that affect learning.
Integrated/Interdisciplinary Curriculum A curriculum that purposely links disciplines to each other.
James, William http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_James
Kaplan, Sandra http://rossier.usc.edu/faculty/sandra_kaplan.html
Learning Progression  "A learning progression is a sequenced set of sub skills and bodies of enabling knowledge that, it is believed, students must master en route to mastering a more remote curricular aim. In other words, it is composed of the step-by-step building blocks students are presumed to need in order to successfully attain a more distant, designated instructional outcome." (Popham)

The essential learning expectations describe learning progressions for the Montana Content Standards.
Leppien, Jann http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/WebClasses/bio/Leppien.htm
McTighe, Jay http://www.jaymctighe.com/
Pacing Guides Pacing guides are timelines or schedules that delineate an alignment of learning expectations/concepts, topics, and skills related to a particular curriculum using a set of materials/resources. It outlines what a teacher is expected to teach and students are expected to learn during a specified time. Pacing guides come in various formats that include time period, learning expectations based on standards, specific unit/topic/lessons, resources/materials, as well as formative and summative assessments. Quality pacing guides do more than keep educators on track and ensure curricular continuity across schools. Quality pacing guides are designed to outline what to teach and how to teach with exemplary curriculum materials, lessons, and instructional strategies. Addressing the learning progressions in a pacing guide can lead to instruction that builds on student learning to maximum academic growth. Pacing guides can be a roadmap for accelerating learning for gifted and talented students. Effective pacing guides are flexible, set a realistic time frame, place topics in a sensible order, challenge students, determine resources to use, and develop a sense of how long instruction may take. Pacing guides should be adjusted through frequent revisions based on input from educators.

 

Performance Descriptors Performance descriptors define how well students apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired. They gauge the level to which benchmarks have been attained in terms of range, frequency, facility, depth, creativity and quality. Achievement of curricular goals is assessed by the performance descriptors.
Performance Rubric A set of criteria describing students' performance, along a continuum from advanced to novice, that define how well they apply the knowledge and skills contained in the Essential Learning Expectations.

The intent of the Montana Content Standards Performance Rubrics is for classroom teachers to inform their instruction for individual learning. Effective rubrics provide feedback to improve the quality of a student's work. Guskey and Bailey (2001) believe that regularly checking on students' learning progress is an essential aspect of successful teaching. In order to facilitate learning, teachers need to provide students with regular and specific feedback on their learning progress.
Principles Principles are two or more concepts stated in a relationship. Usually considered to be the foundational truths of a discipline. "The supply and demand of goods and services affect cost." Or "any straight line can be extended indefinitely in a straight line."
Program of Studies A curriculum framework that incorporates core content for assessment.
Purcell, Jean http://www.corwin.com/authorDetails.nav?contribId=525151
Representative Topic The lens through which content is explored. A topic is selected for study because it effectively illustrates the essential concepts and principles governing a field of knowledge. For example a study of the cell as a system of interdependent parts paves the way for understanding systems of the body, the body as a system, ecosystems, etc.

 

Structure of Knowledge Knowledge has an inherent structure or organization. In the 1960s, Hilda Taba provided a clear explanation of the different levels of knowledge abstraction and organization. She defined the hierarchy of ideas within a discipline from facts and skills to concepts to principles and generalizations and finally to theories.
Taba, Hilda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilda_Taba
Tomlinson, Carol Ann http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Ann_Tomlinson
Tyler, Ralph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Tyler
Unifying Concept A unifying concept defines the ideas that will focus the unit of study. It forces thinking to the integration level. Students see patterns and connections at a conceptual level as they relate the topic to the broader study framed by the lens. Unifying concepts can be broad macro-concepts or more content specific concepts.
Units of Study Units represent a coherent chunk of work in courses or strands, across days or weeks. An example is a unit on natural habitats and adaptation that falls under the yearlong strand of living things (the course), under 3rd grade science (the subject), and under science (the program.)

Though no hard and fast criteria signify what a unit is, educators generally think of a unit as a body of subject matter that is somewhere in length between a lesson and an entire course of study; that focuses on a major topic (e.g.,Revolutionary War) or process (e.g., research process; and that lasts between a few days and a few weeks.(Wiggins, 2005)

Units of study are vehicles for providing multifaceted learning opportunities for students. Using standards (e.g., Montana's Academic Expectations), as the basis for a unit focuses the planning team on meaningful and relevant concepts. The unit plan, in turn, enhances the delivery of instruction and assessment.
Whitehead, Alfred North http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_north_whitehead
Wiggins, Grant http://www.grantwiggins.org/

 

Works Cited...

Curriculum Development Guide

Download Works Cited


Association of College and Research Libraries. Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Chicago: American Library Association, 2000.

Burns, Deborah, Jann Leppien, Stuart Omdal, E. Jean Gubbins, Lisa Muller, and Siamak Vahidi. "National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented." 2006. Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. 18 March 2011 <http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/nrconlin.html>.

Carter, Lisa. Total Instructional Alignment. Bloomington: Solution Tree, 2007.

Connecticut State Department of Education. "A Guide to Curriculum Development: Purposes, Practices, Procedures." 2006. Connecticut State Department of Education. 2 February 2011 <http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2618&q=321162>.

Curriculum Designers, Inc. Curriculum21. 2011. 18 March 2011 <http://www.curriculum21.com/home>.

Eisenberg, Michael B. and Robert E. Berkowitz. The Big6: Information & Technology Skills for Student Achievement. 2 February 2011. 2 February 2011 <http://www.big6.com>.

Lezotte, Larry. "“Action Planning Checklist”." Effective Schools. Missoula: Effective Schools Conference Handouts, November 2010. 2.

Merriam-Webster. "curriculum". 2 February 2011. 2 February 2011 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curriculum>.

Moss, Connie M., Brookhart, Susan M. and Long, Beverly A. "Educational Leadership." ASCD. Ed. Margaret M. Scherer. 15 March 2011 <http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationa-leadership/mar11/vol68/Knowing-Your-Learning-Target.aspx>.

Murray, Janet. Achieving Educational Standards Using the Big6. Columbus: Linworth Books, 2008.

National Research Council. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Washington: National Academy Press, 2002.

—. National Science Education Standards. Washington: National Academy Press, 1996.

National Science Foundation, University of Washington School of Education. Big Idea Tool. 2011. 15 March 2011 <http://tools4teachingscience.org/tools/big_idea.html>.

Pattison, Cyntha and Nancy Berkas. "Critical Issue: Integrating Standards into the Curriculum." 2000. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. 2 February 2011 <http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/currclum/cu300.htm>.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. How to differentiate instruction in a mixed-ability classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by design guide to creating high-quality units. Alexandria: ASCD, 2011.

—. Understanding by Design Professional Development Workbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2004.

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Foundational Documents of the Montana Standards-Based System

Montana Constitution...

Curriculum Development Guide

Constitution of Montana -- Article X -- EDUCATION AND PUBLIC LANDS

Section 1. Educational goals and duties. (1) It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person. Equality of educational opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state. (2) The state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity. (3) The legislature shall provide a basic system of free quality public elementary and secondary schools. The legislature may provide such other educational institutions, public libraries, and educational programs as it deems desirable. It shall fund and distribute in an equitable manner to the school districts the state's share of the cost of the basic elementary and secondary school system.

Montana Code Annotated...

Curriculum Development Guide

20-7-113. Maintenance of curriculum guide file and publishing curriculum guides by superintendent of public instruction. The superintendent of public instruction shall collect and maintain a file of curriculum guides to be made available to districts for the use of schools in planning courses of instruction. The superintendent may prepare, publish, and distribute curriculum guides for the use of schools in planning courses of instruction. The superintendent may solicit the assistance of educators and other qualified persons in the preparation of curriculum guides.
 
20-7-114. Instructional assistance by superintendent of public instruction. The superintendent of public instruction shall, at the request of the district or county superintendent, assist the schools with the planning, implementation, operation, and evaluation of instruction through inservice training and individual consultation.

20-1-501. Recognition of American Indian cultural heritage -- legislative intent. (1) It is the constitutionally declared policy of this state to recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians and to be committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural heritage.
  (2) It is the intent of the legislature that in accordance with Article X, section 1(2), of the Montana constitution:
  (a) every Montanan, whether Indian or non-Indian, be encouraged to learn about the distinct and unique heritage of American Indians in a culturally responsive manner; and
  (b) every educational agency and all educational personnel will work cooperatively with Montana tribes or those tribes that are in close proximity, when providing instruction or when implementing an educational goal or adopting a rule related to the education of each Montana citizen, to include information specific to the cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indians, with particular emphasis on Montana Indian tribal groups and governments. 
  (3) It is also the intent of this part, predicated on the belief that all school personnel should have an understanding and awareness of Indian tribes to help them relate effectively with Indian students and parents, that educational personnel provide means by which school personnel will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the American Indian people

Montana Board of Public Education Standards Revision 2005-2011 Statement of Purpose...

Curriculum Development Guide

The purpose of the Standards Revision Project is to assure Montana citizens that its public schools are providing all children of our great state with challenging academic expectations. The Montana Board of Public Education is charged with the responsibility of leading a process of standards revision that meets the following guiding principles.

Revised learning standards which are academic in focus, rigorous but attainable, readily understandable, and designed to measure the progress of students toward meeting them, will lead to the improvement of Montana's schools and a brighter future for our people.

Revised standards must clearly and consistently identify what students should know, understand and be able to do. Parents, educators, and the greater Montana community must be involved in the revision process. Revised standards will provide a framework to help guide local curriculum and instruction, encouraging school districts and teachers to place emphasis on critical areas of learning. In addition, standards should be measured and made known to the Montana public.

With the vital purpose of improving Montana's schools as our goal, the Montana Board of Public Education sets forth the following criteria to guide Standards Revision:

  1. Standards will be academic in nature and content specific.
  2. Standards will be challenging and rigorous.
  3. Standards will be clear, understandable and free of jargon.
  4. Standards will be measurable.
  5. Standards will address diversity specifically fulfilling the commitment to implementing 20-1-501, Indian Education for All.

With the purpose of developing a successful and useful product, the Montana Board of Public Education sets forth the following process to guide the Montana Standards Revision:

  1. Use the existing Montana Standards Framework --current accreditation program delivery and foundation standards, content and performance standards and benchmarks, and existing structure (4th, 8th, and upon graduation);
  2. Use proven practices from Montana classrooms;
  3. Consider international, national and other states' standards;
  4. Consider entrance expectations for work place and post secondary education;
  5. Consider achievement and other related data;
  6. Consider other research e.g., Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, School Redesign Network, National Study of School Evaluation, etc.;
  7. Consider comments from professional education associations;
  8. Consider comments from tribal and school district educators;
  9. Consider recommendations from Montana Advisory Council for Indian Education; and 
  10. Involve the Montana public.

Administrative Rules of Montana (selected text)...

Curriculum Development Guide

10.54.2503 STANDARDS REVIEW SCHEDULE (1) Montana's content and performance standards shall be reviewed and revised on a five-year cycle beginning July 1, 2005.

(2) A schedule for review of specific programs shall be established as a collaborative process with the Office of Public Instruction and the Board of Public Education with input from representatives of accredited schools. The schedule shall ensure that each program area is reviewed and revised at intervals not exceeding five years.

(3) The standards review process shall use context information, criteria, processes, and procedures identified by the Office of Public Instruction with input from representatives of accredited schools.

10.55.601 ACCREDITATION STANDARDS: Procedures (5) To ensure continuous educational improvement, the Office of Public Instruction shall provide guidance, resources, and evaluation to assist in the implementation of district and school plans to improve teaching and learning for all students…

(6) School districts are required to maintain present programs that meet current standards until such standards are superseded…

(7) On or before July 1, 2004, a school district shall align its curriculum to the state content and performance standards and program area standards as adopted by the Board of Public Education. A school district shall maintain programs to align with the state's schedule for revising standards.

10.55.603 CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT (1) Local school districts shall incorporate all content and performance standards into their curriculum, implementing them sequentially and developmentally. School districts shall assess the progress of all students toward achieving content and performance standards in all program areas. Assessment of all students shall be used to examine the educational program and measure its effectiveness based on the content and performance standards.

10.55.701 BOARD OF TRUSTEES (3) Each school district shall have in writing and available to the staff and public: (c) sequential curricula for each program area that aligns to the content and performance standards and the district's educational goals;

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Standards-based Curriculum

Standards-based Curriculum...

Curriculum Development Guide

"curriculum" – a course of study. New Latin, from Latin, running, course (Merriam-Webster)

"Traditionally, the school curriculum provides a plan of instruction that indicates structured learning experiences and outcomes for students. It specifies the details of student learning, instructional strategies, the teachers' roles, and the context in which teaching and learning take place. More recently, however, the standards movement, research on teaching and learning, and research on the characteristics of successful schools have broadened the scope of curriculum to include everything that affects what happens in the classroom and consequently affects student learning (Pattison)."
Traditional Curriculum Approach Standards-based Curriculum Process
Curriculum Binder Curriculum>Instruction>Assessment System
Scope and Sequence Learning Progressions
Textbook Resources
An Event Continuous Process
"Test at the End" Comprehensive Assessment System

 

An Aligned Standards-based Curriculum

CURRICULUM – is the organization of standards into a plan that describes the manner (sequence, for how long) in which the standards will be taught and assessed.

CONTENT STANDARDS – define what students must know and be able to do (as opposed to a list of topics or chapters in a book); define the parameters of the three main components of standards-based education.

INSTRUCTION – is the use of various strategies and methods to teach the standards. Instruction is informed by student achievement, learning targets, and other variables that affect learning.

ASSESSMENT – is the measurement of student performance based on the expectations outlined in the standards. A comprehensive system of assessment includes a continuum of formative, interim, and summative measures of student progress.

Description: alignment
 (Carter)

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment must be implemented in a dynamic, rather than static fashion.  For example, curriculum must be reviewed and revised on a regular cycle and this work is informed by instruction and assessment data/information. Results from assessment should inform instruction and, over time, the revision of the curriculum.

Students also inform each of the three components. Not all students are the same and this demands that student achievement and progress inform the three elements of this dynamic process.

Educators must shift thinking from "I cover that standard" to "I have evidence from my curriculum, instruction, and assessments that show students know and can do what is outlined in the standards."  It is rare that an individual will innately know how to implement, evaluate, and/or support this dynamic process. This requires initial professional development, practice of implementation, coupled with self and group reflection, and continued professional development that continues the process.

Works Cited

Carter, Lisa. Total Instructional Alignment. Bloomington: Solution Tree, 2007.
Connecticut State Department of Education. "A Guide to Curriculum Development: Purposes, Practices, Procedures." 2006. Connecticut State Department of Education. 2 February 2011 . <http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2618&q=321162>.
Merriam-Webster. "curriculum". 2 February 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curriculum>.
Pattison, Cyntha and Nancy Berkas. "Critical Issue: Integrating Standards into the Curriculum." 2000. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. 2 February 2011. <http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/currclum/cu300.htm>.

Assessment...

Curriculum Development Guide

ASSESSMENT is the measurement of student performance based on the expectations outlined in the standards.  A comprehensive system of assessment includes a continuum of formative, interim, and summative measures of student progress.

Description: alignment

Educators must design and implement a comprehensive system of assessment which empowers students to ask and answer the following questions:

  1. What will I be able to do when I've completed this lesson or task?
  2. What concept, idea, topic, or subject is important for me to learn and understand so that I can do that?
  3. How will I show that I can do this?
  4. How well will I have to do it? (adapted from Moss)

Educators must clearly communicate learning targets and the criteria for success in order to engage students in the assessment process.


Resources

MontCAS Presents
MontCAS Released Items
Knowing Your Learning Target from March 2011 Educational Leadership.


Performance Assessment Example PDF

Works Cited

Moss, Connie M., Brookhart, Susan M. and Long, Beverly A. "Educational Leadership." ASCD. Ed. Margaret M. Scherer. 15 March 2011 <http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar11/vol68/num06/Knowing-Your-Learning-Target.aspx>.
Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design Professional Development Workbook. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 2004.

Adapting Curriculum to Meet the Needs of Exceptional Learners...

Curriculum Development Guide

Download Text

Good curriculum must respect the unique characteristics of the learner. It should recognize and support the need of each learner to make sense of ideas and information, reconstructing older understandings with new ones. Good curriculum will address interest and readiness levels.
When implementing the Montana Content Standards, schools must provide all students with appropriate challenges. In the words of Carol Ann Tomlinson in the foreword to her book How to Differentiate Instruction in a Mixed-Ability Classroom,

"Acknowledging that students learn at different speeds and that they differ widely in their ability to think abstractly or understand complex ideas is like acknowledging that students at any given age aren't the same height: It is not a statement of worth, but of reality. To accommodate this reality, teachers can create a "user-friendly" environment, one in which they flexibly adapt pacing, approaches to learning and channels for expressing learning in response to their students' differing needs.
While the goal of each student is challenge and substantial growth, teachers must often define challenge and growth differently in response to students' varying interests and readiness levels (Tomlinson, 2001)."

All learning happens on a continuum from novice to expert. Each stage of the continuum has different learning characteristics and learning needs. In The Parallel Curriculum Model this continuum is called Ascending Levels of Intellectual Demand (ALID) and the learner characteristics are described below.

Novice

  • Experiences content at a concrete level
  • Manipulates micro-concepts one at a time
  • Needs skills instruction and guided practice
  • Requires support, encouragement and guidance
  • Seeks affirmation of competency in order to complete a task

 Apprentice

  • Understands the connections among micro-concepts within the discipline
  • Connects information within a micro-concept
  • Begins to interpret generalizations and themes that connect concepts
  • Applies skills with limited supervision
  • Seeks confirmation at the end of the task
  • Reflects upon content and skills when prompted

Practitioner

  • Manipulates two or more micro-concepts simultaneously
  • Creates generalization that explain connections among concepts
  • Selects and utilizes skills in order to complete a task
  • Seeks input from others as needed
  • Exhibits task commitment and persistence when challenges are moderate
  • Reflects upon both content and skills in order to improve understanding and performance

Expert

  • Utilizes concepts with and among disciplines in order to derive theories and principles
  • Creates innovations within a field
  • Practices skill development independently and for the purpose of improvement
  • Seeks input from other experts in a field for a specific purpose
  • Works to achieve flow and derives pleasure from the experience (high challenge, advanced skill/ knowledge)
  • Independent and self-directed
  • Seeks experiences which cause a return to previous levels in varying degrees

This information guides curriculum design and instructional delivery by articulating the changes that characterize each learner at the stages between novice and expert. It provides a framework for thinking about how to challenge each learner with incremental sophistication--each learning experience just above easy reach of the learner who remains challenged and engaged. With a clear understanding of the characteristics and needs of each learner the teacher can select assessment tools, interpret assessment data with accuracy and use the data to create responsive curriculum and instruction. Teachers can use scaffolding techniques and instructional strategies appropriate to the needs of each student (Tomlinson, The parallel curriculum: a design to develop learner potential and challenge advanced learners).

For additional information: www.caroltomlinson.com/Presentations/NAGC_PCM21Cskills.pdf

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. How to differentiate instruction in a mixed-ability classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001.
Tomlinson, Carol Ann. The parallel curriculum: a design to develop learner potential and challenge advanced learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2009.

Enduring Understandings...

Curriculum Development Guide

Enduring understandings are statements summarizing important ideas (Principles and Generalization) and core processes that are central to a discipline and have lasting value beyond the classroom. They synthesize what students should understand—not just know or do—as a result of studying a particular content area. Moreover, they articulate what students should “revisit” over the course of their lifetimes in relationship to the content area.
Enduring understandings:

  • frame the big ideas that give meaning and lasting importance to such discrete curriculum elements as facts and skills
  • can transfer to other fields as well as adult life
  • “unpack” areas of the curriculum where students may struggle to gain understanding or demonstrate misunderstandings and misconceptions
  • provide a conceptual foundation for studying the content area and are deliberately framed as declarative sentences that present major curriculum generalizations and recurrent ideas.

Essential Questions...

Curriculum Development Guide

An essential question is "a question that lies at the heart of a subject of a curriculum (as opposed to being either trivial or leading), and promotes inquiry and uncoverage of a subject. Essential questions thus do not yield a single straightforward answer (as a leading question does) but produce different plausible responses, about which thoughtful and knowledgeable people may disagree."
Common Characteristics of Essential Questions:

  • Open ended, relate to some knowledge in the domains
  • Kid-friendly language
  • Like a door – leads to other questions
  • Sparks inquiry, not just about a skill
  • Recur, can be revisited and apply to other situations
  • Connect to prior learning and personal experience

Adapted from (Wiggins p. 342)

Inquiry and Problem Solving in the Montana Content Standards...

Curriculum Development Guide

Inquiry and problem solving are expressed in a variety of ways in the Montana Content Standards. The following excerpts from the Information Literacy-Library Media, Science and Social Studies standards define essential approaches to inquiry and problem solving. These ideas are mirrored in the content standards for Career and Technology Education, Communication Arts, Health Enhancement, Mathematics, Technology, Workplace Competencies, and World Languages.

Information Literacy

Information Literacy —The ability to recognize when information is needed and then to locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information (Association of College and Research Libraries).

Inquiry —Inquiry is any process that has the aim of augmenting knowledge, resolving doubt, or solving a problem. 

The Montana Information Literacy/Library Media Content Standards describe and define an information problem-solving model in the rationales to Standards 1, 2 and 3.

Students encounter "increasingly vast and complex collections of information" in today's world (Murray). Literacy implies more than vocabulary and awareness; it requires critical thinking (Murray). Students need skills to help them identify a task or problem and then determine which resources will best solve their specific academic and/or personal requirements. The Big6™ Model provides students with direction, purpose and strategies to initiate the process. Content Standard 1 addresses the first two steps in the Big6™ Model: Task Definition and Information Seeking Strategies (Eisenberg).

Inquiry-based learning has progressed from traditional research to a problem-solving process. Multiple literacies, including digital, visual, and textual have now joined information literacy as critical skills for the 21st century. The amount and complexity of information necessitates that each individual acquire the skills to select, evaluate, and use information appropriately and effectively. The Big6™ Model provides students with direction, purpose and strategies to further the process. Content Standard 2 addresses steps 3, 4 and 5 in the Big6™ Model: Location and Access, Use of Information, and Synthesis (Eisenberg).

"The final project is more than a goal; it is an opportunity to help students learn how to solve problems and make decisions by engaging higher-level thinking skills in a systematic way" (Murray).
Students must be prepared to critically evaluate the results of their research, and then apply those results effectively in future learning and decision making for personal growth and empowerment. This critical evaluation requires that students have frequent opportunities throughout the process to self-assess in order to revise strategies.  Content Standard 3 addresses step 6 in the Big6™ Model: Evaluation (Eisenberg).

Science

The National Science Education Standards(National Research Council) defines scientific inquiry as "the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry also refers to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world." Students are naturally curious and ask questions about their environment from a very early age. This process of questioning and investigating ways to answer these questions mirrors the very process that scientists use to understand the natural world. Educators can build upon this curiosity by leading students to question further and to use evidence to answer their questions. Throughout their education, students can learn to conduct simple to complex investigations, collect and explain evidence and data results, and communicate their findings with others. Student understanding of science content and concepts significantly deepens when they interact with these ideas through inquiry experiences in K-16 classrooms.

The following table from Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning (p.29) lists variations in levels of inquiry used in the classroom. This table should help to dispel the myths surrounding inquiry-based instruction. While teachers should work to incorporate more experiences from the left-hand side of the table, it is important to note that students rarely have the ability to begin here. They first have to learn the process of questioning, how to investigate their questions, and to understand the difference between evidence and opinion. All students should have the opportunity to participate in inquiry experiences that fall on both sides of this continuum.


Essential Features of Classroom Inquiry and Their Variations


Essential Feature Variations

Learner engages in scientifically oriented questions

Learner poses a question

Learner selects among questions, poses new questions

Learner sharpens or clarifies a question provided by the teacher, materials, or other source

Learner engages in a question provided by the teacher, materials, or other source

Learner gives priority to evidence in responding to questions

Learner determines what constitutes evidence and collects it

Learner is directed to collect certain data

Learner is given data and asked to analyze

Learner is given data and told how to analyze

Learner formulates explanations from evidence

Learner formulates explanations after summarizing evidence

Learner is guided in process of formulating explanations from evidence

Learner is given possible ways to use evidence to formulate explanation

Learner is provided with evidence

Learner connects explanations to scientific knowledge

Learner independently examines other resources and forms the links to explanations

Learner is directed toward areas and sources of scientific knowledge

Learner is given possible connections

 

Learner communicates and justifies explanations

Learner forms reasonable and logical argument to communicate explanation

Learner is coached in development of communication

Learner is provided broad guidelines to use to sharpen communication

Learner is given steps and procedures for communication

Description: Graphic describing the amount of learner self-direction and the amount of direction from teacher or material.

Source: National Research Council. 2002. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Social Studies

Introduction to the Montana Content Standards for Social Studies

Social studies is an integrated study of the social sciences and humanities designed to foster citizenship in an interdependent world. Social studies provides coordinated, systematic study of such disciplines as economics, history, geography, government, sociology, anthropology, psychology and elements of the humanities. Social studies addresses political, economic, geographic, and social processes that allow students to make informed decisions for personal and public good. Social studies develops the knowledge, skills, and processes necessary to understand historical and present day connections among diverse individuals and groups. A study of Montana's rich past and geographic diversity includes the distinct cultural heritage and contemporary perspectives of Montana's American Indians and other cultural groups.

Social Studies Standard 1: Students access, synthesize, and evaluate information to communicate and apply social studies knowledge to real world situations.

Rationale

Every discipline has a process by which knowledge is gained or inquiry is made. In the social studies, the information inquiry process is applied to locate and evaluate a variety of primary and secondary sources of information. Information gathered in this manner is then used to draw conclusions in order to make decisions, solve problems and negotiate conflicts. Finally, as individuals who participate in self-governance, the decision making process needs to be understood and practiced by students as they prepare to take on civic and economic responsibilities.

Works Cited

Association of College and Research Libraries. Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Chicago: American Library Association, 2000.
Eisenberg, Michael B and Robert E. Berkowitz. The Big6: Information & Technology Skills for Student Achievement. 2 February 2011. <http://www.big6.com>.
Murray, Janet. Achieving Educational Standards Using the Big6. Columbus: Linworth Books, 2008.
National Research Council. Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002.
—. National Science Education Standards. Washington: National Academy Press, 1996.

21st Century Skills...

Curriculum Development Guide

Resources for 21st Century Skills

Curriculum21

"Curriculum 21 is the outgrowth of the work of a dynamic group of educators worldwide attempting to help colleagues transform curriculum and school designs to match the needs of 21st century learners. The impetus originated from the Curriculum Mapping work developed by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs. As we examined maps emerging across the United States and overseas it was evident that curriculum and instruction remains dated although both students and teachers recognize the need to become current and forward thinking in our planning." (Curriculum Designers, Inc.)

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

"ISTE advances excellence in learning and teaching through innovative and effective uses of technology."

Online resources from ISTE  Curriculum Planning Tool

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

"The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school." (Partnership for 21st Century Skills)

Online resources from the Partnership: Video21, Route21

Sir Ken Robinson Changing Education Paradigms YouTube Video

"Teachers' Guide for the Explicit Teaching of Thinking Skills ." by Deborah Burns, Jann Leppien, Stuart Omdal, E. Jean Gubbins, Lisa Muller, and Siamak Vahidi.

Vision of 21st Century Teachers YouTube Video

Technology...

Curriculum Development Guide

Today's learners—teachers and students—are continually affected by a variety of digital technologies. These technologies have altered their expectations and skills. Traditional instruction alone no longer provides students with all the skills necessary to find personal value and professional success. Therefore, education needs to play an increasing role in empowering learners to be technologically literate and to integrate digital tools into their lives.

Expectations for student learning are increasing as digital tools make basic tasks easier. We must help students meet these expectations by understanding that:

  • digital technology must be in the hands of all students;
  • technological literacy includes more than simple mastery of skills;
  • digital citizens must use digital tools safely and responsibly;
  • learning environments are no longer constrained by school walls; they are global and personal;
  • digital technology skills are acquired, developed, and mastered at an individual pace; and,
  • access to tools and flexible networks are critical for learner success.

While digital technology tools can be used to facilitate assessment of student learning, the primary application of these tools must be used to support content area learning. Although integrated learning systems can be used to deliver curriculum, true technology integration involves dynamic interactions among learners using digital tools.

Inquiry-based learning activities, rich in relevant content and integrated with digital technology, can facilitate collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving. Properly applied, technology enhances learning and instruction, but does not become the focus. By providing access to information and tools for expression, opening pathways to communication, and facilitating personal understanding, technology supports learning in all subjects.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)...

Curriculum Development Guide

Download UDL

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunity to learn.  Inspired by the universal design concept in architecture (Pisha & Coyne, 2001), the UDL framework has been developed by The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) to assist teachers in developing curricula that are flexible and supportive of all students. Grounded in brain research, UDL principles align three fundamental learning components with three learning networks in the brain: recognition, strategy, and affect (Rose & Meyer, 2002).  A UDL model guides teachers to instructional goals, methods, assessment, and materials to minimize learning barriers and maximize flexibility.

Universal Design for Learning is defined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 as a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that:

  • provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and
  • reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.

Related Links:

Center for Applied Special Technology

National Center on Universal Design for Learning

Montana Guide to Curriculum Development

Instructional Materials Toolkit

This toolkit is a dynamic guide to assist Montana districts in the evaluation, selection and implementation of standards-based instructional materials that best meet the needs of their students.  The toolkit provides a process and resources to assist districts in evaluating, selecting, and implementing standards-based materials that meet their needs and support student achievement.