Updates ahead at state level

School curriculum review anticipates standard charges

At a glance

• Colorado Department of Education reviewing Model Content Standards

• All school districts must align their curriculum to state content standards

• Moffat County School District literacy curriculum continuing routine review this year

• Review committee, administrators building anticipated state standard changes into curriculum

CDE seeking subcommittee members

The Colorado Department of Education is taking applications for membership its in content-specific review subcommittees. The CDE is seeking membership from a variety of fields, including business, higher education, preschool through 12th-grade education and technical fields.

To apply, visit https://forms.cde.... Applications are due Sept. 15.

Some of the skills and content taught to Moffat County students, and students across the state, are about to change.

The Colorado Department of Education plans to review all the state's content standards. The changes are intended to make students more tech-savvy and better prepared for life after high school graduation .

In the meantime, school district curriculum has to align with changing state standards.

Moffat County School District committees and administrators reviewing district curriculum must try to anticipate which way the state will lean.

An area district superintendents' meeting scheduled within the next few months could shed light on the issue. For now, though, administrators are trying to foresee change based on the state's announced goals.

"At this point, (the school district) is anticipating fewer changes at lower grades and more changes at secondary grades," said Christine Villard, school district assistant superintendent, adding that many changes at the state level are aimed at student post-graduation readiness.

Anticipating those types of changes will come in handy as a review committee updates the school district's literacy, or reading and writing, curriculum this year.

This fall, the committee, which includes district literacy specialists and teachers at both elementary and secondary levels, will enter the second and largest phase of a three-year curriculum review process.

The school district's literacy program, like that of other content areas, is on a rotation for regular review.

But, with the anticipated state content standards changes, what was once a routine update could become more complex.

"We'll do the best we can," Villard said.

Still, curriculum is flexible enough to accommodate for any unforeseen changes in the state standards.

"The curriculum is a guideline of what we need to teach," Villard said. "You can add anything in at anytime if you determine that : it's part of the state standards."

The same principle applies to all district curriculum.

Villard doesn't expect any unexpected standards changes to significantly alter the district's literacy curriculum.

If such a change did occur, "I can't imagine it would be huge," Villard said. "It would be more like a missing element that we had not anticipated."

Changing standards

The statewide standards revision process, which was first announced in September 2007, represents the first major change in Colorado's content standards since schools first put them into practice in 1994.

"The overall intent of the process is not to abolish the current standards in place," said Jo O'Brien, CDE assistant commissioner of standards and assessment, in a news release. "Instead, the review will modernize the core content, articulate new skills and attempt to tighten the focus of a viable scope of expectations."

In this case, modernizing the state's content standards focuses on three main elements students should have by graduation: college readiness, career preparation and 21st-century skills.

The CDE plans to seek feedback from students, parents, teachers, educators, business professionals and community members throughout Colorado as it reworks the standards by setting up subcommittees for each content area.

A list of new, proposed standards is scheduled to go before the Colorado State Board of Education by December.

The CDE plans to overhaul math, science, reading, writing and music standards in its first phase of revisions.

The local school district is working anticipated changes into its curriculum revisions.

In a revision of the district's science curriculum, which ended in the 2007-08 school year, "we included : technology literacy and problem solving," Villard said. "We write those into the major constructs of what we want to cover.

"We'll do the same thing with the literacy" curriculum.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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