Curriculum is a framework that identifies the concepts, information and skills for a course of study or a subject area within and across grade levels and provides consistency and continuity of instruction throughout the Pre-K-Grade 8 grade span. District adopted textbooks and other instructional materials, including electronic teaching and learning resources, are selected to support the District's curriculum that has been adopted.
A curriculum guide is a structured document that delineates the philosophy, goals, objectives, learning experiences, instructional resources and assessments that comprise a specific educational program. Additionally, a curriculum guide represents what students should know and be able to do at every grade level, and supports teachers in knowing how to achieve these goals. Curriculum guides are oftentimes presented as frameworks or as a scope and sequence of learning outcomes.
The formulation of such a school or district curriculum guide is not viewed as the culmination of the curriculum development process, but rather as an essential step in the process of ongoing curriculum development and implementation.
The Common Core of Teaching (CCT) presents a vision for teaching and learning in Connecticut Public Schools by articulating the knowledge, skills and qualities that Connecticut teachers need in order to prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
In the 21stcentury, the increasingly complex needs of students require sophisticated teaching strategies. As stated in Wagner (2008), Wagner et al. (2006) and cited in Connecticut’s Plan for Secondary School Reform, “the old ‘basics’ of reading, writing, and mathematics are still essential, but not sufficient. Today’s and tomorrow’s students must learn to locate, analyze ,interpret and communicate information in a variety of media and formats, and solve problems creatively and logically. Living and competing successfully in a global society and economy will require an understanding of our interconnectedness, collaboration and leadership skills, habits of personal and social responsibility, and adaptability to change.” Teachers must help students foster the academic and social competence to become both independent and interdependent learners and workers who can successfully navigate a rapidly changing world. The effectiveness of Connecticut schools depends upon skillful teaching.
Teacher quality is one of the most significant contributors to student learning and achievement; what teachers know and do directly influences what students learn. Effective teachers have deep knowledge of their content area and can present core ideas of the discipline in clear, compelling ways. They engage students in stimulating, challenging learning, support exploration of content, and lead students toward developing critical reasoning and leadership skills. They create rigorous and relevant learning experiences characterized by higher-order thinking and the application of knowledge and skills in the world beyond the four walls of school.
The philosophy behind the CCT is that teaching requires more than simply demonstrating a certain set of technical skills. It requires command of subject matter and pedagogical skills combined with caring deeply about students and their successes. Effective teaching also requires:
- a deep commitment to student achievement and the belief that all students should be challenged to achieve,
- a willingness to work in collaboration with colleagues and families to meet the diverse learning needs of all students, and
- a commitment to analysis of one’s teaching and continuous professional development.
The best teachers model a passion for learning and ignite the curiosity of their students. Teachers help students develop a sense of who they want to be in the world and find their own passions and directions for future learning.