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February 26, 2019

Preview of 2019 NIET Conference Training: Navigating the Implementation of New, Rigorous Curriculum

I have to teach what? Successfully implementing a new, high-quality curriculum

Districts and schools are still adjusting to the shifts associated with more challenging college and career content standards. New curricula aligned to the standards are being adopted to ensure students have access to high-quality instructional materials. However, many schools are struggling to navigate how to support classroom teachers with understanding the "what" (curriculum) and connecting it to the "how" (instruction). At a training during NIET's upcoming National Conference, NIET Senior Program Specialist Dr. Davita Lancelin will help participants restructure their thinking around planning and supporting teachers in weekly professional learning groups or "clusters." Davita's goal is to build teachers' understanding of the connection between high-quality curriculum and instructional best practices.

Based in Louisiana, Davita supports teacher and school leaders in designing the best ways to embed learning around new rigorous curriculum into school-based systems for professional learning and, in particular, weekly professional learning groups or "cluster." This session will be a way for leaders of professional development to see that teachers need time and space to learn the curriculum, and at the same time, the opportunity to understand how instructional best practice fits in this space. "A strong curriculum has to come together with instruction to be effective," Davita explains. "Teachers need to see them implemented together, and be supported to do this to help their students meet higher college and career standards."

Davita brings her experience working with Louisiana districts implementing new, high-quality curricula to the role of facilitator. "A new math curriculum is a good example," she shares. "It required new ways of delivering math content to students to better support problem-solving, deep critical thinking, and collaborative work. Teacher and school leaders had to go first to unpack the curriculum and standards. What might this standard look like in the classroom? What should we look for in student work?"

Participants will examine the first "cluster cycle" and how to ensure that new learning is content/curriculum-focused with an emphasis on student impact through the analysis of student work. They will build on this work to develop a long-range plan for professional learning. This will include cluster cycle goals over the course of the year that result in significant and measurable increases in teachers' success in using the new curriculum. The group will also discuss how the school leadership team can monitor and support this professional learning plan and map out next steps.

Participants will:

Know … the importance of using weekly professional learning groups or "clusters" to build teacher understanding around newly adopted curriculum.

Understand … how districts are using cluster "cycles" to make measurable progress toward student learning goals over the course of the year. And how they are designing the first "cycle" as an opportunity to build teacher understanding around newly adopted rigorous curriculum while keeping a focus on school goals.

Be able to … identify the benefits of building teacher knowledge around the curriculum in cycle one and some options for continuous support in subsequent cluster cycles during the year.

Davita's session will provide problem-solving opportunities for participants, time to process and engage in new learning, and collaborative structures to enable participants to talk, discuss and reflect. Participants will leave with a clear understanding of how to plan, implement and assess the impact of weekly professional learning. In turn, teachers will be better prepared to successfully deliver a new, high-quality curriculum aligned to state standards, and what to look for in student work.