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Curriculum Maps
Direct Learning

Curriculum maps drawn up by East Millsboro Elementary School teachers working in grade-level teams determine what students will learn and when. The school is posting some of the best test scores in Delaware. Included: Information on how teachers use curriculum maps.

Courtesy of The Achievement Alliance

"Unachievable" is a word often tossed around in discussions of No Child Left Behind, particularly to describe its goal that just about all children -- including poor children, children learning English, and children with disabilities -- meet state proficiency standards by 2014. But while that debate swirls in national policy circles, the principal of East Millsboro (Delaware) Elementary School says simply, "It's achievable. We did it last year."

Just about half the students at East Millsboro qualify for free or reduced price meals, a measure of poverty. Ethnically the school is mixed, with about 30 percent of the students being African American and 10 percent Latino, many of them new immigrants from Mexico, and the rest white. About 12 percent of the students from kindergarten through fifth grade are identified as having disabilities.

This unassuming school produces big results. Every single third and fifth grader -- 100 percent -- met the state reading standards in 2005. In addition, 98 percent of the third graders and 96 percent of the fifth graders met state math standards, and 90 percent or more met the state writing, science, and social studies standards.

Bucking the national trend of boys falling significantly behind girls in achievement, boys at East Millsboro score about the same as or higher than girls, depending on the grade level and test. The test scores of fifth-grade readers who are low-income are almost indistinguishable from those who are not, and East Millsboro's low-income students outperform the rest of Delaware on every measure, from math and reading to writing, social studies, and science.

The core of helping children learn at East Millsboro is instruction, and instruction begins with the school's "curriculum map." The curriculum map is a document developed by East Millsboro teachers working together in grade-level teams to map out, month by month, what they will be teaching. It is drawn in part from state standards and contains the performance indicators students must meet during the month plus essential questions, skills, assessments, specialized vocabulary, and texts to be used to teach that unit.


The Achievement Alliance

To read the full story, see It's Being Done: East Millsboro Elementary School

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