K-12 Alignment

What is Alignment?

Alignment is really just a fancy way to say that we're all on the same page, and that there's a clear line from one end of something to another. In education, alignment usually refers to curriculum - what we teach and when we teach it. Without alignment, you may spend a month working on methods of solving linear equations in 7th grade, and then spend another month learning how to do the exact same thing in 8th grade. With alignment, teachers know what has been taught, when it was taught, and can then use that information to avoid any gaps in instruction. In short, alignment is how we make sure we cover our bases so that no one misses out on anything, or has to spend a lot of time relearning something they've already learned.

What is a Scope and Sequence?

Scope and Sequence is the terminology we use to talk about what we teach (scope) and when we teach it (sequence), sort of like a mash-up of a timeline and a map. In fact, it's also often referred to as a curriculum map, which makes sense if you're talking about where you want to go and how you plan to get there. For our district, a scope and sequence has four basic elements:

  • Content (or what we teach)
  • Timeline (when, roughly, that we teach it)
  • Standards (how the content lines up with what the state says we should teach)
  • Assessment (how we measure whether or not we've taught it well enough to move on)

In some instances, you'll also see other components like essential questions, or more specifics like content and core standards. However, those four areas are the cornerstones of a scope and sequence, and should be present in every instance within our district.

Why Bother?

This type of thing always comes down to how it's used. We can get a lot out of K-12 alignment and curriculum mapping, but only if we actually use it to inform what we do in the classroom. To directly answer the question, this is why we bother:

  • It gets us to map out what we teach,
  • It gets us to map out how we assess what we teach,
  • It gets us to talk to other people in our building about what we teach and how we assess,
  • It gets us to talk to other schools in our district about those same things,
  • It prevents redundancy or holes in what we teach and how we assess,
  • And it allows new teachers or parents to walk into a classroom with a solid overview of what to expect.

There is obviously even more we can get from the process, but those are the high points. Again, it really only works if you use it as a tool and not just a hoop. As the saying goes, perception drives reality.

So What Does It Look Like?

Great question, and this has been the biggest hurdle early on the process. It will look a bit different for everyone, but as long as you include the four cornerstones (content, timeline, standards, and assessment), you're on the right track. Our goal will be to build a scope and sequence that stretches from Kindergarten to graduation, but until then, everyone is going to build what they have. They'll share that with other people in their building and tweak it, then share it with other schools in the district followed by more tweaking. Later in the process, they'll probably start to look pretty similar, but for now, different is actually good because it helps us identify what works.

We've listed the first drafts below, and we'll be adding to and reformatting them soon to a uniform look to make them more user-friendly.

Pioneer Elementary

Kindergarten

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2nd Grade ELA 

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2nd Grade Math

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Oakwood Elementary

5th Grade ELA

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5th Grade Math

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Preston Junior High

6th Grade Band

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6th Grade English

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6th Grade Math

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6th Grade Science

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6th Grade Technology

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7th Grade English

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7th Grade Geography

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7th Grade Literature

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7th Grade Science

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8th Grade English

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8th Grade Science

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8th Grade Social Studies

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Spanish

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Preston High School

9th-12th Grade PE

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Cabinetmaking & Millworking

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Calculus

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Algebra 1

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Electronics

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Statistics

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Geometry

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Secondary Math Flow Chart

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