A LYS Principal asks the following:

SC,

We have all heard and/or been told, “A Scope and Sequence is a living document.” 

But I don’t think “the scope and sequence is a living document that can be changed” should be anyone’s justification for not following it at any given time.

Before I step on any landmines, what are your thoughts on the topic?

SC Response A fantastic question, with an answer guaranteed to upset a lot of people and spark a heated debate.  In other words, a worthy issue for the LYS Nation.

A COMMON scope and sequence IS a living, breathing document.  But think magnolia tree, not fruit fly.  If the common scope and sequence did not grow and evolve, then every year it would become less valid and useful. But it should grow at a slow, somewhat predictable rate. And this growth and evolution should occur during summer.  In the summer curriculum staff and teachers have time to review student performance results, student needs, staff strengths, district goals, and changes to standards and make the required adjustments and revisions to the COMMON scope and sequence.  This then becomes the playbook for teachers in the upcoming school year.  It is common for all teachers teaching the same subject.  This better guarantees that students are taught the required content, at the required level of rigor, regardless of the class the student is assigned to.

What most teacher want is a fruit fly scope and sequence lifecycle.  By this I mean, they are OK with starting at the same place, but then they want autonomy on pacing and emphasis.  The result of this is on the vast majority of campuses by the end of the second week of school there is not a COMMON scope and sequence. Instead there are as many individual scope and sequences in play as there are teachers.

Once the scope and sequence is adopted for the year, it is the responsibility of the teacher to deliver the content and stay on pace.  There will be imperfections that will be identified throughout the year and these should (must) be documented, so they can be addressed during the annual summer revision sessions.

There are three critical curriculum decisions in play everyday in the classroom:

1. What To Teach

2. When To Teach It

3. How To Teach It  

The COMMON scope and sequence addresses the first two decisions, freeing up teachers to focus all of their thought, energy and creativity on the HOW.  Those who do not embrace this have destined themselves to being, “a Jack of All, a Master of None.” Sad for those teachers and sad for their students.  Those who do embrace this create a very real opportunity to become a true expert, an asset needed in every school and by every student.    

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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