Curriculum & Instruction
Kimberly A. Bast, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Sarah Rothermel, Curriculum Supervisor
Welcome to the Curriculum and Instruction portion of the Upper Perkiomen School District website.
We believe all students can learn, and it is our duty to ensure that all students do learn. We accomplish this by developing a comprehensive, integrated approach that provides system-wide support to schools, families, and the community.
The Upper Perkiomen School District has a history of commitment to excellence in education. The Board of Education and district citizens have endorsed this commitment by supporting the development, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum and the instructional program. Administrators and staff members have worked together to design and implement instructional programs which will meet the many and diverse needs of students from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve. While there are many reasons to be proud of the district’s instructional program, excellence demands a dedication to continuing evaluation and improvement.
Curriculum is generally thought to be “a course of study,” or what we teach. It is much more than this, however. In effective classrooms, teachers also think about how they teach (the instruction), who they teach (the students, with all their varying needs), and where they teach (the learning environment). In addition, effective teachers know they need to plan their curricula with the end in mind:
- What do students need to know? (the learning standards/big ideas/essential questions)
- How will we know they’ve learned it? (the formative and summative assessments)
- How will we help them get there? (the learning activities/learning resources)
- What will we do when they struggle or when they already know something? (differentiated planning)
In Upper Perkiomen School District, guided by the standards for each content area, teams of teachers and administrators craft a curriculum map in their area of expertise to address the outcomes, goals, and expectations laid out by their content standards.
Curriculum consists of two important parts that together comprise the whole of what we teach. We first develop a yearly view of our work that provides a pacing guide for planning over the course of our school year. This document shows the 'year at a glance' as teacher's begin to choose resources and plan assessment opportunities together. The second part of our curriculum is the individual Unit of Study. This serves to bring together, in one document, the elements of a coherent and cohesive learning plan for our work with students.
The Unit of Study further breaks down the 'what' into three important Stages.
Stage 1 - what do we want students to know and be able to do? Provides an overview of the goals for the Unit and the expected length of teaching time set aside for this topic. It also identifies for our colleagues the specific learning standards that will be addressed through our teaching over the course of this particular Unit of Study. Lastly, Stage 1 identifies Enduring Understandings (the big ideas of the unit/topic) and includes Essential Questions that will guide student discourse through the Unit. In
Stage 2 - how will we know they learned it? Teachers craft both formative and summative methods of assessing the learning. Educators recognize that the question is not whether something was taught but rather whether something was learned that is the important question to answer. Ideally, students are provided with multiples ways to show what they know and have choice in the way this is demonstrated to their teacher and colleagues.
Stage 3 - how will we plan for when they struggle? when they need to be stretched? This is where teachers plan the learning experiences that will achieve the expected outcomes. Teachers share collaborative resources (print and digital) for their instructional planning and create opportunities for differentiated instruction within the Unit of Study.
The Upper Perkiomen school community understands that curricula needs to be coordinated across classrooms and grade levels K-12, to avoid gaps and overlaps and to ensure that our work is aligned to content standards/outcomes and district goals. Curriculum in the Upper Perkiomen Schools is guided by pillars of the District Strategic Plan.