Monday, April 23, 2007

Supporting a G&V Curriculum with Curriculum Mapping

Tim Mitchell, Superintendent from Chamberlain School District, shared insights about how the Chamberlain school district is using mapping to obtain a guaranteed and viable curriculum. As they engage in this process, they are utilizing professional learning communities as a vehicle to reach their goals.

Mitchell started the work in his school with the three C's of community building:

  • confront the brutal facts
  • communication (effective)
  • collaboration

One of the sources Mitchell has used to build his own knowledge around professional learning communities is On Common Ground by Richard DuFour.


Mitchell shared some of the basic tenents related to Marzano's work around the idea of a guaranteed and viable curriculum. A curriculum is guaranteed when you can be assured that every student, regardless of teacher or subject area is guaranteed to come in contact with the curriculum the schools has deemed important. A curriculum is viable when it is appropriately sequenced and when there is an appropriate amount of time scheduled to cover the content and skills. Mitchell believes curriculum mapping is an appropriate vehicle to obtaining a guaranteed and viable curriculum. It offers a 21st Century approach to managing curriculum. The technology supports the development of an authentic record of what gets taught.

Mitchell highlighted information about how the unpacked standards are integrated into the TechPaths curriculum mapping software. This feature allows teachers to design curriculum from the standards, rather than entering units and then finding the standards that match after the fact. TechPaths holds monthly conference calls so that school leaders can be updated about new developments with the software.

In the Chamberlain district, everybody maps. School administrators, including Mitchell, model the process by mapping professional development activities for the district. Chamberlain utilizes a curriculum mapping teacher-leadership team to help guide the initiative. This group takes responsiblity for organizing the mapping activities, solves problems and provides mentoring support for other teachers. Curriculum mapping requires a significant amount of work and a sustained committment in order to collect that data that allows educational communities to utilize the data to inform instructional decisions.

4 comments:

JD said...

I too attended Tim's presentation. We too have been using the Curriculum Mapping process along with TechPaths for our mapping at Hanson.

I like that Tim had everyone map. We have not had administrators mapping as they have, and I can see the benefit of this.

maggie said...

Tim Mitchell also advocated developing professional learning communities. He mentioned "distributed leadership" as being key to Chamberlain's success in their curriculum mapping. Listening to Tim is always a pleasure; he describes the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that others can benefit.

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