Sunday, September 14, 2014

Math Curriculum Summit

A team of WPS educators held a focused, productive K-8 Math Curriculum Summit in late July.  I would like to thank this outstanding team of teachers:

Gr. 1 - Kim Morse, Amy Yessaian
Gr. 2 – Tammy McDonald, Stacy McGrath
Gr. 4 – Kristin Liberti, Kathy Uva
Gr. 5 – Jillian Balestrieri
Gr. 6 – Lisa Tibbetts
Gr. 7 – Mike Pappalardo
Gr. 8 – Erin Roy
K-4 Assistant Principal – Amanda Sullivan
5-8 Math Curriculum Coordinator – Wendy Phillips

The results of their hard work and effort include a clear plan for:

1) Curriculum pilot implementation 2014-15

In 2014-15 a team of teachers will pilot In Focus and EnVision/CMP3 Math curriculum at all grade levels (K-8) across the district. All other teachers will continue to implement the On Core and Engage NY curriculum they worked with last year.  All Math programs are research-based, robust and effective programs aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

2) Curriculum evaluation and planning for 2015-16

A team of teachers and administrators will meet throughout the school year to evaluate the existing and pilot programs, using a curriculum evaluation rubric as a guide and feedback from all K-8 teachers.  Gr. 9-12 representation will be essential for us to establish vertical alignment PreK-12.

With recommendations from this team, we will make a district decision in selecting one consistent curriculum program for implementation in 2015-16.

3) Common Interim Assessments

During a significant working session of the summit, the team revised our common interim assessments, focusing on "power" standards, to implement three times during the course of the school year.  This plan allows for needed flexibility in the pacing of when instruction occurs and allows students the opportunity to master skills over time.  Ultimately this standards-based tool can be utilized as an effective District-Determined Measures (DDM) to measure student learning and growth over time.

4) An Assessment Calendar

The team created a calendar, balancing the common interim assessment windows with Benchmark and PARCC assessments, accounting for report card timelines.  

5) Common Data Protocols

In the coming year we will establish one or two common data protocols that grade-level teacher teams can use to analyze student learning outcomes and make strategic decisions for upcoming instruction.

Other exciting conversations during the Math Summit centered on establishing innovative collaboration opportunities for teachers using web-based tools and ongoing communication strategies with parents.

Establishing a rich, challenging Math curriculum in the WPS to prepare our students well for college and 21st century careers is an exciting process!   

Exciting new English Language Arts curriculum

It has been an exciting summer as we worked extensively on a plan for Literacy/ English Language Arts in the WPS.  We shaped our objectives around the following questions:
  • How do we continue to align our Language Arts curriculum to the Common Core State Standards in order to strengthen our students' critical reading and writing skills?
  • What curriculum resources and materials, instructional strategies, and aligned assessments will teachers need?
  • How will we support our teachers with professional learning, coaching, and feedback as they implement new curriculum?
A team of Wakefield teachers, representing all schools and grade levels, supported by consultant Elizabeth MacDonald (teacher and literacy coach for the Boston Public Schools),  researched and selected a curriculum unit or module,  tightly aligned with the CCSS, to implement in all grades/English classes:

Gr. K-2  Using selected Calkins' Writing Curriuclum units, a team of WPS teachers and literacy coaches are building a Close Reading/Writing module for implementation in February 2015.

Gr. 3-8  The team selected an Expeditionary Learning module for implementation between November and January of the coming school year.  Check samples of these exciting modules online at   

Gr. 9-12  The high school team selected a Model Curriculum Unit from the MA ESE website for each grade and shared these units with the entire English Language Arts teaching team along with projected dates of implementation.

We have purchased all texts, materials, and resources needed for implementation and they will be available to teachers when school opens.  With a strong understanding of the context of our schools, the teachers developed pacing calendars for each grade level. There is a plan in place to enlist principals, literacy coaches, and 5-12 curriculum coordinator to provide preparatory and ongoing training for teachers, with additional support provided as part of the PD framework for the coming year.

Superintendent Zrike has established a clear vision for our movement forward in Language Arts instruction and has targeted the necessary financial resources for implementation.  Liz MacDonald has provided essential wisdom, experience, and leadership this summer and I am thrilled that she will continue to work with us in the coming year.

And I extend my sincerest gratitude to our talented team of teachers for their insights and hard work throughout the summer on this important project:  Kristen Harper, Estelle Burdick, Kathy Holland, Jean Maio, Rachel Costa, Patty Goodwin, Joanne Minihan, Rick Manzi, Matt Winiarski, Danika Ripley, Michele Labreque, Alyson Smith, Paul Bavuso, Amanda Kennedy, Stephanie Martin, Sharon Yandell, Paul Matteo, Will Karvouniaris, Beth Hughes, and Kim Margolis.