The Indianapolis Public Schools Curriculum & Instruction
Department provides all sorts of support to our schools: professional
development, new teacher support, curriculum coaches. However, one small but valuable
tool they produce, now in its second year of use, is having a tremendous
impact. Curriculum & Instruction provides principals weekly snapshots in
key subject areas for use in monitoring student academic pacing.

Curriculum & Instruction provides snapshots each quarter
for English, Math, Science, and Social Studies for K-8, and Algebra I and
English 10 at the secondary level. With these tools, principals can see quickly
from week to week where a teacher’s class should be in a given subject, what
skills should be covered, and know whether or not they are on pace.

Principal
Ashauna Short of John Marshall Community High School called the snapshots “very
useful” in a couple ways. “As a principal, the one thing that I have very
little of is time.  The snapshots alleviate looking for a variety of
websites and curriculum materials because several are hyperlinked for easy
access.  These have been great tools.”

She also
noted how much her teachers get out of them. “Snapshots help with walkthroughs
and offer teachers resources to use in their classroom. They give new
teachers a chance to plan with a starting point and resources, which all helps
them with managing their planning time and pacing.” 

Tammy Bowman, IPS Curriculum Officer, noted that it’s completely
“a school-based decision as to how they use these snapshots. We are just trying
to provide as many tools as we can to monitor instruction and pacing.”

However, it’s not just the schools themselves that are
making use of these tools. District-level personnel also reference them. Bowman
noted, “Our curriculum coaches use these to see where their teachers are.” 

Even the
Academic Improvement Officers (AIOs) pay attention to them. “The snapshots are
invaluable!” said Greg Newlin, AIO for the Magnet Learning Community. “They
give us the ability to have a quick look at objectives and pacing as we walk
around and do school visits.  They provide conversation starters with
principals and teachers and allow for us to then dig deeper with administrators
and teachers concerning planning, delivery and assessments.  They provide
us a quick look as to what we might expect in professional learning communities
surrounding student work around these topics.”

The weekly
snapshots are useful not just to help teachers, principals and AIOs monitor
pacing and ensure content is getting covered, but as Bowman also points out,
it’s a tool that unifies the education provided by the diverse school sites
that make up a district as large and spread out as IPS. “They help ensure all
students are covering the same things, and that we’re all using the same
language,” Bowman said.

That kind of
academic consistency at our district level is something Bowman and her team
have worked hard to achieve, and tools like the weekly snapshots truly help establish
that standardization of excellence across our schools. We’re glad to have our
Curriculum & Instruction Department drawing our educational efforts together with this kind of
amazing support!

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