Focus professional learning communities on curriculum

Research has found that high-quality curricula have a significant impact on student achievement (Steiner, 2017; Chingos & Whitehurst, 2012). But a curriculum is not effective on its own. It requires teachers who understand it and use it with intentionality and professional judgment. This means teachers who know the curriculum and their students well. It also…

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Leverage research on curriculum and professional learning to fulfill the vision of PLCs

Perhaps you’ve seen our recent blogs calling on professional learning communities (PLCs) to anchor their work in the deep study of their curriculum and instructional materials. At Learning Forward, we have always been explicit about the importance of focusing professional learning on the outcomes we expect for students and their teachers. Now, a growing body…

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How systems can support high-quality curricula

In her recent blog post, Learning Forward Executive Director Stephanie Hirsh argued that the impact of high-quality curricula will be fully realized when grade-level, subject-specific professional learning communities place deep study and planning for how to use these instructional materials at the core of their work. But, as Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning make…

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Commit to High-Quality Materials and Embedded Educator Support

A 2015 study by Schmidt and Burroughs found that low-income students are less likely than high-income students to have high-quality content and materials in the classroom. The authors said, “As it stands now, students’ chances to learn challenging content depend on whether they are lucky enough to attend a school that provides it. In effect,…

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What makes curriculum work: 4 lessons for administrators

By Barbara Davidson and Susan Pimentel The Knowledge Matters Campaign is a coalition of education leaders encouraging schools to focus on developing students’ foundation of content knowledge. Earlier this year, Knowledge Matters members visited seven elementary schools that share a commitment to knowledge-rich schooling and belief in comprehensive, high-quality curriculum, implemented schoolwide, as a means…

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Leverage high-quality instructional materials

Studying and implementing high-quality instructional materials anchors the work of effective learning teams. Learning Forward has elevated the importance of this work for the same reason we amplified the role of equity in our vision — a recognition of the need to prioritize and be explicit about the strategies that have the most potential to…

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