Subject Area Committees consists of K-12 teachers who represent their grade level or department. This group is responsible for reviewing and revising the curriculum for their grade or subject and overseeing the implementation of the curriculum. The process each SAC goes through is extensive, detailed and process-driven. Teachers analyze what is currently being taught in each classroom. Based on national standards and the Iowa Common Core, teachers determine the developmental appropriateness of content and the needs of students after they leave our school system for college or work. A factor in determining content are the Iowa tests given each year determining adequate yearly progress in the areas of math, reading, and science.
Subject Area Committee members write Grade Level Expectations for each grade in each subject. Grade Level Expectations (GLE’s) can be translated into units of study within a classroom during a year or term. Components are also written, these are the smaller concepts needed to know and understand in order to be successful on the assessment at the end of the unit of study (GLE). Upon successful completion of all GLE’s, students are able to be successful in the next grade or course. Subject Area Committee members validate the curriculum, making sure all expectations are developmentally appropriate once put into practice. Additional resources are purchased to assist teachers in concept development in the classroom.
Summative assessments are formulated and common assessments are written. All students in a grade or subject will take the same final assessment, assuring all students are learning and attaining the concepts and skills needed to move on. Subject Area Committees are on a 5 year cycle. Every 6th year, the process begins again!
Iowa Common Core (new section)
The Iowa Common Core Curriculum (ICC) is a nation wide effort to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all students engage in a rigorous and relevant curriculum that will prepare them to live and work in the 21st Century. The ICC provides a comprehensive picture of effective curriculum that addresses content (what to teach), instruction (how to teach), and assessment (how we ensure learning occurred). ICC is important because it will set high expectations for students and educators, address the learning needs of all students, and address the global and local requirements in today’s society.
The Iowa Common Core consists of essential concepts and skills that students must learn before graduating from high school. Content areas addressed include: literacy, math, science, social studies, and 21st century skills (technology literacy, employability skills, health literacy, financial literacy, and civic literacy.
The Department of Education has set a timeline for full implementation:
July 1, 2010-all districts will have an implementation plan for grades 9-12.
July 1, 2012-all districts will have fully implemented the plan for 9-12 and will have developed an implementation plan for grades K-8.
2014-15-all districts will have fully implemented the plan for K-8.
Because of the hard work our staff has done with our curriculum revision process in the last few years, we are in a good place for full implementation. Our curriculums are being reviewed and we are analyzing how we are delivering instruction, focusing on the characteristics of effective instruction. Beginning in the 2009-10 school year we looked each characteristic, teaching for understanding, using formative assessments to drive instruction, teaching for student differences, creating student centered classrooms, and teaching with rigor and relevance.
We have submitted an implementation plan for K-12. The plan is below.