SVSL cur­ricu­lum direc­tor presents depart­ment goals

El Dorado News-Times - - Front Page - By Matt Hutch­e­son Staff Writer

The Smack­over-Nor­phlet School Board’s Mon­day, Septem­ber 21 meet­ing be­gan with a pre­sen­ta­tion from cur­ricu­lum direc­tor Jen­nifer Lee and recog­ni­tion of the district’s em­ployee of the month.

Lee said her pre­sen­ta­tion was meant to give an over­view of how the cur­ricu­lum depart­ment works.

“I’ll say here - [it’s] peo­ple first, and pro­grams sec­ond. The rea­son why that is so crit­i­cal is you’ve known good teach­ers, and great teach­ers. A great teacher can take a bad pro­gram and make it work… But a bad teacher, no mat­ter how good a pro­gram is, can make it un­suc­cess­ful. When we make de­ci­sions with hu­man re­sources… that re­ally truly mat­ters,” Lee said.

She went on to dis­cuss teacher train­ing and the cur­ricu­lum depart­ment’s main fo­cal points.

“When­ever we in­vest in pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment we are in­vest­ing in our peo­ple… What we do with peo­ple, how we train them and sup­port them mat­ters more than any­thing else I will say tonight,” Lee said.

Lee said that the cur­ricu­lum depart­ment uses four guid­ing ques­tions to de­ter­mine its poli­cies.

“The first ques­tion we want to an­swer on a daily ba­sis is: what do stu­dents need to know to be col­lege or ca­reer ready? The sec­ond is: how do we know that they’ve learned it? Our third ques­tion is: how will we re­spond when some stu­dents do not learn it? Num­ber four is: how do we ex­tend learn­ing for stu­dents who are al­ready pro­fi­cient?” Lee said.

For the first ques­tion, Lee listed pro­grams and fac­tors in­clud­ing ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion, the K-12 STEM pro­gram and the Sec­ondary Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter.

“[We ask] what skills do the stu­dents have? Do they have so­cial skills, life skills, peo­ple skills or the soft skills that in­dus­try keeps talk­ing about?” Lee said.

She went on to ad­dress the sec­ond ques­tion.

“We talk a lot about as­sess­ment, and a lot of times it deals with stan­dard­ized achieve­ment test­ing be­cause that’s what the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ment re­quires us to do. But there’s all kinds of as­sess­ment; it’s a daily, on­go­ing as­sess­ment as a teacher. It’s speak­ing to a stu­dent as they walk out the door, ask­ing ‘what did you learn to­day?’ As­sess­ment mat­ters… if we don’t know what [stu­dents] have learned, we aren’t do­ing our job,” Lee said.

For the third ques­tion, Lee fo­cused on pro­grams the district has in place to ad­dress is­sues stu­dents may have.

“We have RTI (Re­sponse to In­ter­ven­tion) Aca­demic, which in­cludes our dys­lexia ther­apy pro­gram and other sup­port for stu­dents. We also have RTI Be­hav­ior, be­cause for some stu­dents its not that they can’t learn the ma­te­rial, but they have other things go­ing on in their lives,” Lee said. She also dis­cussed pro­grams in­clud­ing those for English lan­guage learn­ers and the al­ter­na­tive learn­ing pro­gram.

Fi­nally, she ad­dressed ex­tend­ing learn­ing for al­ready-pro­fi­cient stu­dents.

“It’s not okay to say they learned the cur­ricu­lum, great; we want to ex­tend that learn­ing… When you see any­thing we’re talk­ing about with Gifted and Tal­ented, Con­cur­rent Credit or cer­tifi­cates of gen­eral study, that’s how we’re ex­tend­ing that learn­ing,” Lee said.

Fol­low­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion, Lee of­fered recog­ni­tion for the SNSD em­ployee of the month, Smack­over High School coun­selor Am­ber Miller.

“There’s a rea­son we have kids en­rolled at the Sec­ondary Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter, be­cause [Miller] en­rolled ev­ery sin­gle one of them, and ad­vised them,” Lee said.

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