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Accelerating Student and Staff Learning
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Accelerating Student and Staff Learning
Purposeful Curriculum Collaboration

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February 2009 | 192 pages | Corwin
Written for primary and secondary school administrators and teacher leaders, Accelerating Student and Staff Learning presents a powerful model for professional development centered around conversations about curriculum. The author shows how school leaders can raise student performance by focusing the attention of professional learning communities (PLCs) on curriculum design. The book emphasizes the essential role of leaders in nurturing, inspiring, and challenging PLCs to engage in the critical work of curriculum design that is built around the following activities:

- Developing common understanding of the standards and concepts students are to learn

- Developing common annual work plans or curriculum maps

- Designing aligned assessments

- Collecting and using data to differentiate instruction and extend learning opportunities for all learners

- Using the data to make ongoing modifications in the work of PLCs


 
Foreword by Stephanie Hirsh
 
Publisher's Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Introduction
 
1. An Overview: Collaborative Curriculum Design as Professional Learning
 
2. Establishing Assumptions About Student and Staff Learning
 
3. Determining Complex Curriculum Standards and Concepts
 
4. Mapping the Curriculum
 
5. Assessment of Student Learning
 
6. Designing Instruction
 
7. Analyzing Student Work and Monitoring Student Learning to Inform Instruction
 
8. Using Effective Grading and Parent Reporting Practices
 
9. Leading Schools to Sustain the Effort and Fulfill the Promise
 
Appendix 1. Our Assumptions About Student and Staff Learning
 
Appendix 2. The Principles of Professional Learning
 
Appendix 3. Our Vision of Our School: Iduma Elementary School, Killeen ISD, Killeen, TX
 
Appendix 4. A Learning Walk
 
Appendix 5. We are a School Community That Values Learning
 
Appendix 6. Template for Developing Our Learning Community's Norms
 
Appendix 7. Quakertown High School Goals
 
Appendix 8. Sample Letter to Parents
 
Appendix 9. Critical Attributes of a Performance Task
 
Appendix 10. Template for Culminating Demonstrations
 
Appendix 11. Example of a Task Analysis of a Culminating Demonstration
 
Appendix 12. Example of a Task Analysis of a Culminating Demonstration (Term III)
 
Appendix 13. Precision in Adverbs
 
Appendix 14. Middle Ages Scoring Guide
 
Appendix 15. Culminating Demonstration Rubric for First Grade Students at Heritage Elementary
 
Appendix 16. Kindergarten Literacy Lesson Plans
 
References
 
Index

"Succulently summarizes the best practices for curriculum design with a focus on what is also best for kids. From identifying assumptions we make about student learning to communicating and reporting student growth and progress, the text offers practical and sound advice based on current practices in the field and the author’s experiences."

Mike Greenwood, District Teacher Leader
Windsor Public Schools, CT

"This book on how to align curriculum and pedagogy with standards and create organizational coherence in schools to do the work will contribute to new ways of thinking and doing in schools."

Thomas Payzant, Professor of Practice
Harvard University

"This is a book of action. The author calls for leaders in school communities to be bold, courageous, committed, and aggressive in the actions required to achieve desired increases in student learning. Relevant and thought-provoking assignments are contained in each chapter, challenging all those in a school community to communicate, debate, question, plan collaboratively, and reflect."

Charles Patterson, Educational Consultant
Former President, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

"This book provides a hands-on guide for creating curriculum systems that bridge theory into practice for schools. Each chapter includes vignettes and reflective questions that personalize the work for learning teams while providing a recipe for long-term success, increased student achievement, and engagement in learning."

Linda M. Reeves, Superintendent
North Marion School District, Aurora, OR

"As a dynamic authority on staff development, Psencik shows teachers and principals how to apply a collaborative systems approach to designing professional development—the perfect resource for results-driven leaders as they develop a curriculum to meet the needs of all students."

Diane Hodges, Managing Partner
The Threshold Group

"From determining important state standards to creating authentic curriculum/assessments and analyzing student work, this book is an essential read for administrators, teachers, and educators who want their students to successfully meet and exceed today’s academic standards."

Victor Vargara, Principal
Valor Middle School, Woodburn, OR

"A gem for educators striving to create a learning environment that embraces professional collaboration involving common curriculum maps, assessments, and instructional units. If you are already on this path, it corroborates what you are currently doing. If you are just beginning this journey, it provides you a step-by-step process. Most importantly, the book is reassuring that our vision of providing the best possible learning opportunities for both students and staff is on target. Psencik has touched both the mind and heart of our profession."

Gloria Shamanoff, Assistant Superintendent
North Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne, IN

"This book brings new focus to the rich history of ideas and strategies shown to improve student learning, helping educators at all levels see not only the value of using proven strategies, but the importance of integrating those strategies into purposeful improvement efforts."

Thomas R. Guskey, Distinguished Service Professor
Georgetown College
Key features
    • Assists K - 12 school administrators and teacher leaders in raising student performance by focusing the work of professional learning communities on curriculum design.
    • Includes a wealth of stories and examples from districts around the country that have chosen to develop a life long journey of embedding curriculum conversations in their daily work.
    • Addresses essential teacher and administrator skills that support  professional learning communities as they engage in the study of learning outcomes and curriculum.
    • Built on the latest research literature on professional learning communities.

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