Friday, April 18, 2003
Successes, failures in C-C curriculum coordination
Curriculum coordination between the Carlisle school and the schools in Concord is "at best spotty," according to Assistant Superintendent Nadine Binkley. In a report presented March 25 to the Regional School Committee, she praised the efforts made by the Foreign Language, Health, Physical Education, Music, Library, and Technology departments. However, there needs to be continued effort to set up communication with the departments of English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies between the schools, she said. "I'd like to see more coordin-ation," Binkley stated, saying she has been in touch with Carlisle School Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson to improve communication.
What is it and why do we need it?
"The goal of curriculum coordin-ation is to create an open dialogue between and among teachers of different grade levels in the three systems [elementary, middle school, and high school] for the benefit of students," says Binkley. The shared information allows the high school teachers to prepare for incoming students, and encourages the elementary and middle school teachers to align their coursework, with subject areas covered in a similar manner.
Monthly meetings in Concord
According to Binkley, the monthly meetings of the CICC (Curriculum and Instruction Coordinating Council) are productive tools for coordination between the Concord schools. The teacher representatives from each subject area are given names of corresponding Carlisle School curriculum spokespersons, and are asked to facilitate communication. The teachers are asked to attend curriculum planning sessions with their counterpoints in Carlisle, and to invite the Carlisle teachers to the CICC meetings. The Concord teachers receive a stipend for their curriculum coordin-ation work, and can use their weekly early release day as a meeting time for discussions regarding curriculum.
Foreign Language sets example
Binkley noted Carlisle French teacher Nicole Baker has frequently attended meetings in Concord, dis-cussing placement, materials, and curriculum. "In the spring the Carlisle language team sends a list of recom-mended placements for high school freshmen. Carlisle Spanish teacher Andrea Steffeck spent a day at the high school, observing the foreign language classes. "In terms of curriculum, professional concerns, and collegiality, there is a strong connection between the Foreign Language departments of Concord Middle School, CCHS, and Carlisle," Binkley said.
Contact in other departments
In Health and Physical Education, Carlisle teacher Margaret Heigle usually meets in the beginning of the school year with Kathy Bowen, Concord Health Education Director. Carlisle music teacher Tom O'Halloran met last year with Dorene Blair, Music Department Chair in Concord. In previous years the librarians from the two towns have attended meetings, Bentley said, but most recently incompatible schedules has made meeting difficult. The technology directors from Concord and David Mayall from Carlisle, have tried to meet after each monthly "EdCo tech leadership" committee meetings.
According to Fox-Melanson, last year's budget cut had a large impact on planning and coordinating. Any curriculum coordination work done by Carlisle staff is on their own time.
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito