Curriculum at North Thurston Public Schools
Our general education curriculum is rigorous and standards-based. Our teachers work collaboratively around planning, teaching, and assessing students on these standards. They provide a supportive learning environment and encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. Learn more about the Washington State K-12 Standards (Common Core).
How we choose our curriculum
The most important factor in the success of a child is the teacher in the classroom. The second most important factor is the curriculum that is in place.
What are the characteristics of a high quality education? At the heart is the premise that all students are able to learn and are capable of being successful. High quality curriculum is built on high expectations, aligned with state standards, and is rigorous and assessable. It is focused on critical thinking and strong 21st century communication skills.
A strong curriculum also fosters an innovative climate and creativity in order to fit the needs of today’s classrooms. Students must be able to apply what they learn, create new and innovative ideas or products, determine various ways to solve problems and take a stance on issues by applying reasoning and logic to justify their thinking.
Finally, a strong curriculum focuses on vertical and horizontal alignment between grades in order to scaffold, or build the learning experience. It should be developed through a collaborative approach with teachers in order to achieve cohesiveness that targets the success of every child.
Our Curriculum Adoption Cycle
North Thurston follows an eight-year cycle that includes both core and elective areas and is manageable within the district’s human and financial resources. Our review cycle is a systematic schedule for addressing the design, delivery and review of curriculum in all content areas. Download a PDF of the current Curriculum Adoption Cycle >>
The cycle occurs in 4 phases:
- Conduct a needs assessment
- Research & goal setting
- Curriculum review & GAP analysis
- Curriculum Development
- Curriculum selection & GAP analysis
- Identification of practices, strategies, and routines
- Building teacher expertise
- Professional Learning
- Maintenance & Evaluation
The following criteria shall be considered when reviewing instructional resources or supplemental material. Curriculum Leaders may develop additional criteria for specific disciplines as needed.
- Alignment to Washington State and National Standards
- Core or supplemental material follow a defensible sequence of concept and points of view and provides counter narratives as appropriate
- Interest level is accessible and appropriate for as many students as possible
- Empirical evidence of effectiveness based on relevant high quality research, where available
- Current and engaging
- Encourages critical thinking
- Appropriate for the cultural and moral standards of the community
The Instructional Services Department shall establish priorities and facilitate the selection of instructional resources and supplementary materials with the help of curriculum leaders, instructional specialists, classroom and special education/English language learners, administrators, and other stakeholders as appropriate.
- Conduct a needs assessment