DEVELOPING STANDARDS-BASED CURRICULUM UNITS
When the need arises, we model the development of curriculum to improve student achievement in literacy. For example, in order to help the Flint Community Schools respond to changes in the state assessments, we designed five-week units of study for teaching writing and vocabulary development for use by all schools in the district. The units of study, one for each grade, 3 through 8, are aligned to the state standards and grade-level expectations and district pacing charts, and include daily lessons and weekly assessments that inform instruction. Most important, the units of study use sound instructional strategies from writer’s workshop to teach the writing process and engage students and their teachers in the “joy of writing.”
Preparing the units of study was only the first step. We provided training and support to teachers and literacy staff developers to assist in implementing the writing process and the curriculum. During the year-long implementation process, we guided teachers and staff developers to take what they learned and write units of study for different genre.
An independent report by the Busara Group describes our success in helping district and school leaders overcome obstacles to implementing a new curriculum. A second independent report by the Busara Group documents the rapid and significant gains in student performance on the MEAP in our partner schools.