Curriculum Alignment can help students succeed

To the editor,

What is Curriculum Alignment and why do we need it?

One benefit or positive result of reorganization into a single district is curriculum. 

An aligned curriculum means that all students in the same grade, in the same subject, would have the same textbooks, the same supplemental materials and the same learning experiences and expectations.

It would not matter if they were in three different buildings, the efforts of those teachers in that grade and that subject area would be coordinated. 

For example, all 8th grade math teachers would use the same text and teach pre-algebra to their students. 

There could also be coordination with teachers in other subject areas to work together and integrate their subjects.

An example of this would be a science teacher including short answer or essay questions on a test and checking for sentence completeness or a math teacher choosing a scientific problem when teaching math calculations.

In 2011, only eight high schools in the entire State of Illinois made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) according to federal standards, No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Anna-Jonesboro Community High School was one of 656 high schools, statewide labeled as failures by this system.

According to the Illinois Interactive Report Card, the three elementary districts, Anna, Jonesboro and Lick Creek also failed to meet AYP in 2011.

In all, 80 percent of all districts in the state of Illinois failed to meet AYP.

These statistics do not take into consideration the many schools that have made progress in closing student achievement gaps and raising scores, but instead labels students, teachers and administrators as failures.

Currently, the State of Illinois is seeking a waiver from the stringent and impossible goals of NCLB and will be seeking instead to develop a system which balances improvements against consequences.

In the meantime, as a community how can we help our children succeed?

According to one of the reorganization studies, Unit Districts of the same demographics (population, rural area and poverty levels), are systematically performing better on state testing than our local school districts and other dual districts throughout the state.

A vote Yes for reorganization on March 20, 2012, will get us one step closer to higher achievement for our students.

Respectfully submitted by longtime educators and Committee of Ten members Marcia Abell, Joyce Crews, Rita Dodd, Kent Herbert, Nancy Herbert

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