Curriculum and teaching go hand in hand. A good teacher can pick up and seamlessly breeze through content like it was created by them. As a district there has been a movement, such as to streamline curriculum for English and Math so that each school will be utilizing the same content. Having a set curriculum allows teachers to focus on differentiating content. Being able to differentiate content will allow the most academic growth for all kids. Teachers should be able to have ways to address students who are below academic level, at academic level, and above academic level so that no student in the class is bored or left behind.
For those following the board meetings there has been many community concerns that have arisen about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and the new social studies content that was changed at the state level to reflect a heavy Inquiry based model and condensed American History content. To give some background, New Hanover County is required by the state to teach SEL for k-12 grade, and has been since 2017. In New Hanover County Elementary schools, Harmony is the SEL content for elementary school, and all lessons can be accessed at https://www.harmonysel.org/ simply register for a free account and you can see both the parent and teacher overview. Social Emotional health is important for all students, but having a set curriculum can create challenges. These challenges in my opinion come more into play when teaching SEL content to middle and high schoolers, since there are no lesson plans that parents and community can openly access. Formerly teaching in middle school I know conversations can quickly turn in a direction to not be school focused topics. The district needs to be able to accurately relay the information teachers should be teaching not only for parents, but also for the staff themselves to be held accountable to it. Teaching full class social emotional lessons can open up a situation in which students become vulnerable to bullying. No child should feel like they have to openly chat about personal, vulnerable experiences. Teachers create relationships with students, such that the students who feel comfortable will openly share and discuss with teachers. This is different for every child and teacher.
Continuing along the lines of consistent curriculum, New Hanover County schools need to mimic what they have done for Math and English with the History content. There needs to be clear consistency in expectations so that teachers are held accountable to unbiased inquiry based learning content and that parents know what to expect in the classroom. Read more on this topic in my platform position Clear District Implements of State Requirements. These history standards have opened a door for intentionally interpreted topics and set guidelines are crucial for consistent implementation.
All students deserve to have the same opportunities to succeed. Having clear, consistent curriculum content allows for accountability and streamlines academics. Teachers, parents and our community deserve to know a clear and concise curriculum is being implemented in our schools. I believe having a curriculum website would be helpful.