Curriculum Development - Key for a Vibrant School.

Curriculum development has been around for decades, but the principles of creating exciting courses of study still resonate in today's world. In a nutshell, curriculum development is the process of deciding which courses and methods are most appropriate for a group of learners. Careful planning takes into account the diversity of students, developmental levels, goals and objectives of the courses, as well as learning styles and methods to meet each student's needs. This process keeps a school focused on the needs of its students.

Curriculum development is generally done as a collaborative effort between teachers and administrators. The administrators bring the school or district's goals for a group of students, and the teachers contribute knowledge about the students. There are four stages to curriculum development: design and development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and review. For a great school, curriculum development is a constant process designed to create the best learning environment possible for each student.

In the design and development phase, the group decides on specific ideas and objectives for each grade level. For example, in seventh grade language arts, some of the ideas might include being able to use context clues in reading, identify prefixes, and be able to write an essay using the five paragraph method. The design and development group also determines how these goals will be assessed throughout the year. Teachers are generally not given specific instructions on how to teach these goals, but the group might suggest methods and specific activities.

The next phase of curriculum development hands the process over to the classroom teacher. During implementation of the curriculum, each teacher is allowed to determine how to present the information to his or her students, since it is generally understood that each teacher will understand their students and their particular challenges best. It is during the implementation phase that a monitoring and evaluation of the curriculum begins. Teachers may find that particular objectives dictated by the curriculum are too challenging for their students, at which point they will begin to suggest changes to the curriculum development group.

At the end of the school year, the curriculum development group reviews their plan to decide if it fit the needs of the school and the students. The process is never considered complete. Instead, the curriculum is constantly and regularly changed to fit the shifting population of the school, new educational methods, and any additional objectives.