School board forum

September 04, 1998

Primary Forums '98

     Washington County School Board:  fourth in a series of five questions

QUESTION 4: Do you have a copy of the curriculum audit? What do you think is the most pressing problem in the curriculum audit and how would you propose solving it?

Paul W. Bailey: Yes. The most critical issue to be resolved is the necessity for all professionals in the school system to recognize that the written, taught and tested curriculum drives what takes place every day in every classroom in Washington County. It is fundamental that an extended period of training be provided for classroom teachers to become familiar with the curriculum.

Lenora Barnhart: Having reviewed the curriculum audit, it is my opinion, management of the curriculum in our schools is a priority. There needs to be in place a scope and sequence of curriculum for each grade level. The planned articulation and coordination of curriculum is vital for a successful program. We should not be teaching to the test but laying an educational foundation.


B. Marie Byers: Yes. I am pleased to be a member of the board that commissioned the Curriculum Management Audit. The Strategic Plan is the next step the board requested to address improvements. Student achievement for all students through updated Essential Curriculum that includes National Standards, State Curriculum Framework and Core Learning Goals is critical.

W. Gordon Crabb: Yes. Well marked. Do not get trapped into "The most pressing problem" state of mind. The audit found serious problems and made 112 recommendations under 11 categories. Those recommendations work, and must be addressed, together as a total plan. Experienced people should dictate what has to be done. That plan should come from the superintendent and staff.

William R. Cunningham: Yes. We need a Comprehensive Curriculum Management Plan in place. If this plan is used all learning activities will be in line, and this will ensure that proper instruction and learning is occurring in all disciplines and at all grade levels. Curriculum guides for each area of instruction will help ensure uniformity in teaching in all county schools.

Philip G. Goldman: No.

Christina Hammer-Atkins: No, but I have read it. The relationships between the parents, teachers, principals and community. These are the people who can make the biggest difference in success. Communication is the answer and can be enhanced in a variety of ways.

J. Herbert Hardin: Yes. To meet the immediate needs this year for students and teachers, we must design and implement a plan for comprehensive staff development in curriculum and instruction. These two areas impact our youth daily and hourly. Administrators should identify staff curriculum and instructional needs, such as student achievement. Policies must be formulated with goals and outcomes stated.

Ricky A. Hockensmith: Yes, I possess the 177-page comprehensive curriculum audit. My first priority is to help develop a strategic plan for curriculum which incorporates action plans to achieve realistic, measurable goals.

Robert L. Kline: Yes. A system with a strong curriculum management has a plan that facilitates the design and delivery of curriculum. The plan conveys the leadership and provides direction for curriculum development, adoption, implementation, assessment and revision.

Mildred L. Myers: Yes. This audit is a very comprehensive document. To be able to pick out any one problem as being more pressing than another is very difficult. The areas of needed improvement are all linked with each other in importance. A beginning would be the adoption of policies that would establish an operational framework for curriculum improvements, accountability, innovations and goal attainment.

Doris J. Nipps: Yes. The finding regarding the board's "micro-management" of the system and the relationship with the superintendent must be addressed. After the board admits there is a problem we must meet with the superintendent to establish clear, concise guidelines for operations. We should provide guidance and direction for the system while the superintendent manages day-to-day activities.

Stephen Popper: Yes. Curriculum itself is the critical cog in the education machine. If the curriculum is not integrated between grades and schools, designed to meet educational goals, and provided with appropriate testing (to see if goals are met), then it doesn't matter the quality of your teachers, how much high tech computer support, or how well the administration oils the machine.

David L. Resh Sr.: Yes. I believe that the most pressing problem in the school system audit is the lack of a program for evaluating the effectiveness of curriculum and programs. In a system where the needs are many and money is limited, this lack of assessment and accountability is unacceptable.

Mary Wilfong: Yes. The most pressing issue in the audit is the lack of curriculum management. We need to develop sequential curriculum guides and assessment criteria. These guides should provide teachers with concrete goals and resources so that they can be effectively taught throughout the county. Staff development is critical to the successful use of the curriculum guides.

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