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The Balanced Curriculum

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  1. The Balanced Curriculum NCDPI Instructional Services Division

  2. Background • Need identified through communications from the field • ISD Curriculum Committee formed • Elementary Document completed in 2003 • Middle School and High School Documents to follow

  3. Elementary Curriculum Committee • Kymm Ballard, K-12 Physical Education, Athletics, and Sports Medicine Consultant • Martha Campbell, K-12 Information Skills and Computer Skills Consultant • Bryar Cougle,K-12 Arts Education (Theatre Arts and Visual Arts) Consultant • Martha Downing, K-12 Hearing Impaired and Autism Consultant • Brenda Evans, K-5 Science Consultant • Helga Fasciano, K-12 Second Languages Consultant • Cynthia Floyd, K-12 Guidance Consultant • Bobbie Grammer, K-12 Exceptional Children, Monitoring Consultant • Tracey Greggs, K-5, Social Studies Consultant • Valorie Hargett, Exceptional Children AIG Consultant • Christie Lynch Howell, K-12 Arts Education (Dance and Music) Consultant • Alesha McCauley, K-12 English as a Second Language Consultant • Toni Meyer, K-6 Mathematics Consultant • Eva Phillips, Early Childhood (Title I Pre-Kindergarten) Consultant • Lucy Roberts, Early Childhood Section Chief • Mary Rose, 3-5 English Language Arts Consultant • Claudia Sykes, K-2 English Language Arts Consultant • Annemarie Timmerman, K-12 Technology Services Consultant • Michele Wallen, K-12 Health Education and Driver Education Consultant

  4. Jane Barnes, Johnston County Schools Antonia Beh, Wake County Schools Dena Byers, Durham Public Schools Marian Farmer, Alamance-Burlington Schools Jennifer Frederiksen, Wake County Schools Jane Gleason, Meredith College Billy Graham, Carteret County Schools Joan Huffman, Catawba County Schools Tony Iannone, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Celia W. James, Wayne County Schools Marta Garcia Johnson, Buncombe County Schools Debbie Jones, New Hanover County Schools Donna Kimbro, Caswell County Schools Angie Larner, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools JoAnna Massoth, Orange County Schools Joseph McCargo, Rockingham County Schools Barbara Piekarski, Catawba County Schools Dale Pelsey-Becton, New Hanover County Schools Robert Sox, Wake County Schools Karen Vaugn, Pitt County Schools Carolann Wade, Wake County Schools Corinne Watson, Richmond County Schools Outside Review Committee

  5. Phases • Phase I • Initial Document: Guiding principles, Philosophy of Balanced Curriculum and Sample Schedules, Scenarios and Resources • Phase II • Dissemination • Phase III • Identification of model sites and additional resources

  6. The Balanced Curriculum: A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study at the Elementary Level • CONTENTS: • Foreword Howard N Lee, Chairman, State Board of Education Michael E Ward, Superintendent, Public Schools of North Carolina • Acknowledgements • Background and Overview

  7. The Balanced Curriculum: A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study at the Elementary Level (CONTENTS, Continued) • What is a Balanced Curriculum? • What a Balanced Curriculum is NOT • Why Teach a Balanced Curriculum?

  8. The Balanced Curriculum: A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study at the Elementary Level (CONTENTS, Continued) • Questions and Answers (Factors that Impact Implementation of a Balanced Curriculum) • Sample Scenarios • Sample Schedules • Looking Ahead

  9. The Balanced Curriculum: A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the NC Standard Course of Study at the Elementary Level (CONTENTS, Continued) • Conclusions • Appendices • Resources and Bibliography

  10. What is a Balanced Curriculum? • Includes Entire Standard Course of Study (SCS) • Educates the Whole Child (BEP) • Includes a Challenging and Common Curriculum (CCSSO) • Is Based on Best Knowledge of How Children Develop and Learn (NASBE)

  11. What is a Balanced Curriculum? • Prepares Students for Success in School and in Life (NCLB/NCDPI) • Is Inclusive of All Subjects versus Only Those Subjects Tested (NCLRC) • Promotes Brain Growth and Development through an Enriched Environment (Diamond & Hopson)

  12. What is a Balanced Curriculum? • Creates Active Participants Rather Than Passive Observers (Diamond & Hopson) • Allows Students to Use the Whole Brain (Zull)

  13. What a Balanced Curriculum is NOT: • An Individual Effort • Planning and Teaching in Isolation • Teaching to the Test • Teaching ONLY English Language Arts and Mathematics • “One Size Fits All”

  14. What a Balanced Curriculum is NOT: • Teaching without Assessing Student Needs • Teaching 15- Minute Classes to Hundreds of Students • Teaching the Text • Teaching the Teacher’s Favorite or Most Comfortable Topic(s)

  15. What a Balanced Curriculum is NOT: • Teaching Some Disciplines Sporadically (seasons or holidays) • “Fake” Integration • A Program • Only for Some Children

  16. Why Teach a Balanced Curriculum? • Standard Course of Study (As Required by NCGA/SBE) • Fundamentally Complete Program of Education (BEP) • Workforce Readiness • Superior and Competitive Education – Beyond “Sound and Basic” (Governor’s Education First Task Force)

  17. Why Teach a Balanced Curriculum? • Life Skills(CCSSO) • Connections(Jensen) • Multiple Intelligences (Gardner) • Meets the Needs of All Children

  18. How to Implement a Balanced Curriculum: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS • Suggestions/guidance/recommendations for issues impacting scheduling at the elementary level • (with links to resources) • Addressed through Q and A format and supported by research

  19. Sample Scenarios and Schedules • Provide “glimpses” of how the school day is structured and what might be taking place in various classrooms • Sample schedules give a basic overview for how time is structured • Sample scenarios illustrate what might be occurring during various times on a given day

  20. Sample Scenarios and Schedules • Scenarios reflect a variety of voices, formats and perspectives • Times reflected on each schedule are not mandated by legislation or policy • Allotted times for subject areas are samples only, and are not meant to be interpreted as an exact way to structure time

  21. Sample Scenarios and Schedules • Neither comprehensive nor prescriptive • Individually, illustrate what might be seen in a given classroom • In their entirety, illustrate how learning takes place across the curriculum, and that educating the “whole child” is indeed a whole school effort

  22. Looking Ahead • Examines issues with time and learning • Identifies education programs and practices that support Implementing a Balanced Curriculum

  23. Conclusions • Each elementary school has responsibility for providing instruction in: • arts education (dance, music, theatre arts and visual arts), • computer skills and information skills, • English language arts, • guidance, • healthful living (health education and physical education), • mathematics, • science, • second languages, and • social studies.

  24. Conclusions (continued) • Students who receive a balanced curriculum and possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to transfer and connect ideas and concepts across disciplines will be successful as measured by standardized tests and other indicators of student success.

  25. Out of 2859 elementary school teachers representing all areas and levels, and 333 principals and administrators who responded to the elementary school surveys (2003), it is evident that a balanced curriculum which includes all areas of the Standard Course of Study, is not consistently delivered in participant’s schools. Where are NC’s Schools Today?

  26. Data from the survey, individual classroom schedules and whole school schedules indicated: heavy emphasis on tested areas; under-emphasis or not teaching those areas which are not tested(including dance, foreign language, music, physical education, theatre arts, visual arts, health, science and social studies); large and overwhelming class and student loads for special area teachers; Where are NC’s Schools Today?

  27. underutilization of instructional time(e.g. taking large amounts of time for transitions or “snack”, rather than integrating these transitions with instruction); preventing students from attending special area classes (such as music or physical education in order to receive tutoring or special services); teaching skills in isolation(e.g. “EOG prep”); inadequate collaborative planning time, (especially across and between grade levels, special services and special areas). Where are NC’s Schools Today?

  28. English language arts and mathematics are being taught on a regular basis 16% of teachers reported daily instruction in science 16% of teachers reported daily instruction in social studies 16% of teachers indicated that science is only “occasionally taught,” 10% of teachers indicated that social studies is “not taught” at all 25% of teachers indicated that health education is “not taught” “Teaching to the Test” Survey Data

  29. Subjects not taught at all: foreign language (76%), dance (80%), physical education (26%), music (24%), theatre arts (67%), and visual arts (37%) “Teaching to the Test” Survey Data

  30. Teaching to the Test • NC’s state-mandated tests are closely aligned with the SCS. • Teaching a balanced curriculum, to include all areas of the SCS, prepares students for success on standardized tests.

  31. Teaching to the Test vs. Teaching a Balanced Curriculum • “Teaching to the test” will not necessarily increase student achievement. • More likely, students will lack the skills and conceptual understanding they would receive from a balanced curriculum to make connections, apply knowledge, and creatively solve problems in a variety of settings. • Processes measured on tests are taught through a balanced curriculum

  32. Teaching to the Test vs. Teaching a Balanced Curriculum (continued) • Teaching solely to the test will leave children behind; particularly those who: • do not speak the English language, • have disabilities, • are at risk and unmotivated, and • are able to demonstrate their understandings in a multitude of ways, but not necessarily on standardized tests.

  33. The Age-Old Issue of Time • Since the beginning of the public schools, the school calendar has remained an element of debate • Advantages and disadvantages can be identified in every type of school calendar • Additionally, how individual teacher and class schedules are structured present likewise advantages and disadvantages.

  34. Teachers need planning time: to collaborate; to discuss student learning and research-based best practices; to plan; to receive professional development; to map and align the curriculum; and to examine what is being taught and how it is being taught and assessed. Planning Time

  35. 37% of teachers surveyed indicated that they had no daily protected planning time. 46% of all teachers reported that the majority of their planning time takes place in one hour or more segments of time before and after school, not during the school day. Planning Time (continued)

  36. Planning Time (continued) • According to the teachers surveyed, no collaborative planning takes place with the following: • media coordinator (82%), • technology facilitator (83%), • dance, music, theatre arts or visual arts teachers (range of 90-98%), • physical education teacher (90%), • foreign language teacher (98%), • special education teachers (75%), • LEP (ESL) teacher(s) (86%)

  37. Planning Time (continued) • In order to provide an integrated, connected, and comprehensive curriculum, teaching schedules must allow for sufficient planning time for teachers – with grade levels, across grade levels, and with special areas and special services teachers.

  38. Instructional Time • Students must have access to uninterrupted blocks of instructional time to receive in-depth, connected instruction, and to develop concepts rather than memorize facts in isolation • Because the elementary school has more flexibility with time and because elementary classroom teachers are trained as generalists, opportunities for integrated, connected instruction must be maximized

  39. Structuring Time • Teachers and staff within schools must look at how they are structuring the time they have • Every facet of the school schedule, (including when children receive special services, eat lunch, or have opportunities for structured recess or physical activity) impacts the overall classroom environment, and teachers’ abilities to deliver a balanced curriculum and ultimately improve student achievement

  40. Structuring Time • There is no one best-way of scheduling time • Schools must investigate and be aware of various ways to utilize time, through the school calendar and in individual classrooms • Schools must understand the history of the calendar, the different approaches that can be taken to make changes to the calendar, and the advantages and disadvantages that are associated with these approaches

  41. What Needs to Happen? • How schools allocate time will in part determine schools’ ability to implement a balanced curriculum • Time will not change the practices that are occurring within classrooms • How that time is utilized will determine whether or not every student is afforded the opportunity to receive a balanced curriculum and to have his or her individual instructional needs met to the fullest extent possible

  42. What Needs to Happen? • Schools must genuinely look at research-based practices that clearly provide benefits to students • Teaching the whole child does not begin and end with student performance on mandated tests • To implement a balanced curriculum is to address all aspects of child development

  43. A Balanced Curriculum: • Implementing a Balanced Curriculum helps students: • develop a love of learning and become lifelong learners, • find relevance in and connections with what they are learning, • understand themselves and those around them, • demonstrate talents they bring with them to school, and • develop new and necessary skills and abilities to be successful in school and in life

  44. Accessing the Document • The Balanced Curriculum: • A Guiding Document for Scheduling and Implementation of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study at the Elementary Level • On the web http://www.ncpublicschools.org • NCDPI Publications (CD or hard copy) • Contact Christie Lynch Howell for more information: • 919-807-3856, cmhowell@dpi.state.nc.us