The schools of the Archdiocese of Newark are involved in a multi-year curriculum mapping project which will result in the development of subject area curriculum maps that clearly articulate the content and skills students will be learning in each subject in each grade level. Curriculum mapping is a process that helps schools and districts/dioceses determine the “agreed-upon” learning for all students. This process will ensure that a consistent, clearly articulated curriculum infused with Gospel values is being provided to all students in our schools.
The first phase of the curriculum mapping project took place during the 2013-2014 school year. Math teachers from throughout the Archdiocese were involved in a collaborative process which provided opportunities for individual teacher contributions, small group sessions and larger group meetings. This process lead to the development of the Archdiocesan K-12 Mathematics Curriculum Map which identifies the content to be taught and student skills to be mastered at each grade level. The math curriculum maps can be found at http://catholicschoolsnj.org/curriculum-and-testing/curriculum-mapping. The curriculum maps for other subject areas will be posted to the website as they are developed over the next several years.
This curriculum mapping process and the resulting maps will help ensure the academic excellence that is integral to the mission of our Catholic schools and will provide parents with a clear understanding of the curriculum. While the curriculum maps will clearly articulate the expected learning for all students, individual teachers will have the flexibility to teach the content and skills in their own manner, utilizing their own particular strengths and teaching style, and addressing the varying learning needs of their students.
Relevant educational standards, including those proposed by content area experts, the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, and the Common Core State Standards, will be used as a resource in the curriculum mapping process. While academic standards will be referenced in the Archdiocesan curriculum maps to indicate which standards are being addressed, it is the expertise and experience of the educators within our schools that will determine the content and skills students will be expected to master. It is important to note that standards are not curriculum. Academic standards are general statements describing the expectations for student learning. The curriculum is designed to meet the expectations expressed in the selected standards. While the curriculum maps identify what students should be learning and provide a guide as to when certain content should be taught, each school will determine how it is taught, and what materials and instructional strategies are used. The curriculum maps will guide schools as they develop curriculum that continues to uphold our commitment to academic excellence and is consistent with Catholic teachings and values.
Administrators at all levels will maintain the responsibility to ensure that teachers are following the curriculum maps and that appropriate teaching is being conducted. This will continue to be done through a combination of classroom observations, faculty meetings, professional development opportunities and teacher evaluations, as well as using various measurement tools, including but not limited to in – class and standardized testing.
The process of developing and implementing these curriculum maps is detailed and designed to enhance the high standards currently in place in the schools throughout the Archdiocese of Newark. The Schools’ Office Staff will continually evaluate the process to see if and where it may be improved.
The Archdiocesan Schools Office has always had a program in place to review and update subject curriculum, and we look forward to this opportunity to further enhance our educational programs. In doing so, we will also reinforce the fact that Catholic school education in the Archdiocese of Newark is faith-centered and second to none.