Teachers, administrators mapping new curriculum

By Thomas Garcia, PNT Staff Writer

The Portales Public School’s faculty and staff are developing a language arts curriculum map in a week-long workshop.

“It has been a lot of hard work and we hope that we are creating a useful document for other teachers to use,” said Susan Brown, fifth grade teacher.

This has been an in-depth study of state standards of education for each grade level, Brown said.

Educational consultant Pat Weaver, of Henderson State University, in Arkadelphia, Ark., has been helping school personnel in the development of the curriculum, said Portales assistant superintendent Priscilla Hernandez.

“There are two teachers from K-12 grade, that are developing the curriculum for each grade level,” Weaver said. “Each level of education is represented and has a part in creating the new curriculum.”

Each year a different curriculum item is worked on by the school’s personnel. Last year it was the school’s math curriculum that was developed, Weaver said.

There are five processes that the teachers are working through in order to complete the curriculum, said Weaver. The five steps are benchmarks, performance standards, concepts and skills, activities and assessment and resource materials.

“This collaboration by the teachers and staff is essential in this process,” said Tammie Cox, sixth grade teacher.

The process begins by identifying the benchmark or goal for the student at each grade level. Then the teachers discuss what standards must be met by the students to meet the goal. The concepts and skills needed to meet and pass the standards are set. Teachers then develop activities and assessments that are used to evaluate a student’s progress and finally the resources and materials that will be needed are identified, Weaver said.

“With this process it is the standard that is driving the curriculum and not the text book,” Weaver said.

It is a great how the teachers work together in developing a curriculum that flows well and is well aligned, said assistant high school principal David Van Wettering.