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Priority Area I: Coherent Instruction

Provide every student with well-rounded, culturally responsive and coherent instruction that leads to college, career and community readiness.

While we expect teachers to make ongoing instructional decisions that are based on the needs of their specific students, it is critical that every student has access to a common foundation that systematically and seamlessly prepares them for graduation and postsecondary education starting in pre-kindergarten. By defining a core instructional program that is standards-based, well-rounded and culturally responsive, we will ensure that all of our students have obtained the knowledge and skills necessary for full participation in college, the workplace and the community.

High-leverage Actions:

  1. Develop and implement a common curriculum and assessment system in all content areas starting with literacy and mathematics that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) using a three-year implementation plan and a toolbox of resources to guide schools with implementation and integration across all subject areas.

  2. Define and build teachers’ capacity to utilize a set of research-based and culturally and linguistically responsive essential instructional practices district-wide using a three-year implementation plan that guides professional development offerings.

  3. Provide tools and resources for teachers to develop students’ social/emotional skills, as well as other essential skills, such as organization, perseverance and interpersonal skills, that students need to be successful in college, career and community.

  4. Expand access to a continuum of high-quality services and programs for English Language Learners, Students with Disabilities and students receiving Talented and Gifted Services.

  5. Increase access to fine arts and world language programs at all grade levels.

  6. Define a multi-tiered system of support that is focused on a data-based problem-solving process for students who are struggling with behavior and/or academics. 

Launch Steps:

  • Create a CCSS district leadership team including teachers, principals and central office staff, informed by national experts, to guide the development of model CCSS aligned units of study with authentic performance tasks for each grade level.
  • Provide ongoing professional development for central office leaders, principals, coaches and leadership teams on how to plan, teach and monitor instruction aligned to the CCSS.
  • Begin implementation of the Second Step in kindergarten through eighth grade. Second Step is a program that is designed for explicit instruction of social/emotional skills aligned to the district’s Social/Emotional Learning Standards.
  • Establish and implement clear board policies related to programs and services for English Language Learners and Talented and Gifted students that define the district’s values, beliefs and guiding principles for decision-making and communicate these policies to families.
  • Begin the "Any Given Child" program with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to analyze opportunities to strengthen arts instruction and arts integration across the district.
  • Conduct an external audit/feasibility study on services for English Language Learners/Language Development programs and Special Education.

Metrics for Monitoring:

  • School walk-through data focused on CCSS, essential instructional practices, and implementation of Social/Emotional Learning Standards
  • Student access to high-quality programs and services for English Language Learners, Students with Disabilities, and Talented and Gifted students as measured by internal audit system
  • Student participation rates in fine arts and world languages
A student playing jazz

Jazz Inspirations, artwork by students of Falk Elementary, October 2012