Tupelo teachers to help update curriculum

TUPELO – Tupelo’s teachers will have an opportunity to earn extra money this summer.
The school district will hire many of its educators as it does a major upgrade of its curriculum for the first time since 2005.
The district’s school board on Tuesday approved a curriculum writing project that will pay participating teachers $18 an hour.
The district approved an estimated cost of $350,000 on the project.
“We need the heavy lifting done by the instructional leaders in our district,” said Interim Superintendent David Meadows.
Teachers will discuss and write the new curriculum, which will include a document for each grade level and for each course taught in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, physical education and the arts. Those guides will be consistent from school to school and will aim to eliminate overlaps and holes as students advance from one grade to another.
The curriculum team also will develop pacing documents to give teachers guidance on how quickly they should move through the material.
They will write four assessment tests for students to take based on the new curriculum. Those tests will be given throughout the year so that teachers can see how well their students understand what they have learned.
Teachers from pre-K though 12th grade will be asked to participate. Applications were sent to district teachers.
In a memo to the school board, Meadows said the curriculum writing project is “perhaps one of the most critical tasks in the process to restore the TPSD to improved academic performance for our students.”
The new curriculum will be written to include the new Common Core State Standards. Those standards, which were developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, have been adopted by 42 states, including Mississippi.
Tupelo will start using the new standards next year for kindergarten to second-grade language arts and kindergarten to fifth-grade math. It will add third-to fifth-grade language arts and sixth-to eighth-grade math in 2012-13 and the remaining grades the following year.
Mississippi will begin testing on the common core curriculum in 2014.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@journalinc.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal