Amy Rudd, instructional coach in Akron, Ohio, talks about everything that goes into implementing a new curriculum within an organization and the central role ICs play at every stage along the way.
nytime there's a new curriculum rollout, a systematic approach to implementation is the key to success. A multi-year plan, paired with coaching, will lead to a more fruitful learning experience for teachers, tutors, students, and parents—especially when coaches lead the planning work. Below are some ways that coaches can be involved every step of the way.
Choosing a new curriculum
Form a selection committee
In my district, we started with a selection committee. Our content area learning specialists, coaches, and teachers all worked alongside one another to review the curricula the district had shortlisted.
Grade the curriculum options
As a coach, I helped to lead the evaluation process for the team as we looked at each curriculum on the shortlist. We used rubrics to evaluate the available options and rated them on how we felt they would support the learning standards adopted by our state, as well as student achievement. We noted areas of strength and weakness, and brought our analysis back to the bigger committee.
Once we had narrowed down to our final candidates, we brought the companies of our top choices to meet with us to do another round of presentations and to answer any lingering questions. When the selection committee had reached a consensus, we began the real fun: rolling it out!
Rolling out a new curriculum
Make a plan
We launched the rollout with a focus on the standards and the vertical alignment from grade level to grade level. Instructional coaches and teachers worked together in grade level networks to determine how the standards would be addressed within the daily framework components. Our daily framework helped to guide the yearlong pacing guide.
Train your staff
As the implementation process began to roll, the next steps were to train principals and teachers. The district used a "train the trainer" model and worked with coaches first, since we work alongside teachers daily. Pro tip: getting everyone on board and trained is key to success!
Embedding a new curriculum
The work of a coach doesn't end when the curriculum is rolled out! Teachers need continued support with the new curriculum they’re learning and implementing. Here are a few ways coaches can help get the right support to the right people to ensure that the embedding stage is as smooth as possible.
Surveys are a great way to ask teachers about their experience. Once complete, you can use the data to determine which areas of the curriculum framework teachers feel stronger in as well as the areas they aren’t too comfortable with yet. You can then decide on a building-wide approach, focusing on the area that will have the highest impact on student achievement. For example, you might help teachers find and use tools to support small, flexible reading groups.
Another way coaches can support teachers is by working with teachers individually in coaching cycles. The coach and teacher can set goals that will impact achievement and are aligned with the building-wide needs discovered via surveys. While using the curriculum during their coaching cycle work, teacher and coach can gather data on how student achievement is being impacted. Together, they can then use that data to make decisions and plan the next level of work throughout the coaching cycle.
Through PLCs, teachers and a coach can determine patterns and trends across the grade-level. After noticing patterns and trends, the team can make decisions about the implementation of the tool and what can be done to continue to enhance student growth and achievement. The PLC teams can then share best practices that improve learning outcomes for students with other grade-level teams.
Rolling out a new curriculum is always a challenging task, and as instructional coaches we are best placed to extend our support to all parties in the district. The most successful rollouts all start with a good plan, and it's important to remember the value we can bring to every stage of the rollout from start to finish.
About our Guest Blogger
Amy Rudd works as an instructional coach at the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. She loves children's literature and always tries to connect new learning and great books while working with children and teachers.