A major part of the Guilderland Board of Education’s Tuesday, Oct. 23, meeting, which took place during statewide School Board Recognition Week, was spent discussing curriculum mapping efforts.
At the start of the meeting, student representatives said the purpose of the recognition week was to honor the contributions that school boards make toward furthering education.
The next hour of the meeting was dedicated to a presentation on curriculum mapping, which is a process that attempts to track what students are learning from year to year.
Nancy Andress, Demian Singleton, Lynne Wells and Carol Kelly each contributed to the presentation, which included a Power Point slideshow as well as a demonstration of software that teachers are using in the mapping process.
We began curriculum mapping about 10 years ago, said Andress. `It’s really a living document. Mapping has to be an ongoing process ` you have to work to refine that.`
Based on the work of Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, an instructional planning and strategy expert, curriculum planning is, according to the presentation, `a calendar-based procedure for creating a database of the operational and planned curriculum in a school or district.`
According to documents describing the process, teachers can use curriculum mapping to plan effective coursework, as well as collaborate from a shared perspectives.
With an emphasis on what skills educators want students to have, curriculum mapping is designed with two primary questions: How can it benefit all students, and how can it foster growth?
`We knew this emphasis would be on taught and learned curriculum,` said Singleton. `We made this a grade initiative. It was really quite daunting at times.`
Ultimately, teaching with curriculum mapping shifts from the educator’s perspective of what is taught to the student’s perspective of what is learned. That learned experience is what then directs the teaching.
The district uses RubiconAtlas software to help support its curriculum mapping program.
In other district news, 22 students will have the opportunity to perform in the Area All State music concert; Farnsworth Middle School celebrated Teen Read Week with an emphasis on humorous literature; and the girls lacrosse team was recognized by the state Public High School Association.
With an eye on the upcoming Tuesday, Nov. 13 building referendum vote, an eight-page newsletter has been sent out. Absentee ballot applications for the vote are available in the district office.
In other business, board member Hy Dubowsky highlighted an article showing the connection between school district performance and school board performance.
`We really are the elected governing body of the school district with tremendous responsibility,` he said.“