Middle School Science

Theme - Curriculum & Academic Goals

Best Practices

  • Delving deep into essential content in science facilitated by continual review of the K-12 curriculum and rooted in an ethic of providing all students a fair chance at succeeding and being engaged in advanced science in high school and beyond.

Curriculum is aligned across all grades and levels through close collaboration between teachers, curriculum leaders, and administrators. NYS standards are a guide, with science departments coordinating what to teach at each level. Goals are focused on making sure ALL students are engaged in science, have opportunities and support to learn science. Curriculum is continually revised based on student performance.

Some differences between higher- and average-performing schools

In the higher-performing schools, the curriculum is continually revisited and revised based on student performance across grades; although in average performers the curriculum may have been mapped, interpreting (and reinterpreting) that map in light of assessment results is less likely.

The average performers are beginning to recognize the need for interdisciplinary teaching and learning, particularly the importance of mathematical and English language literacy in science, but the curriculum does not yet articulate or support these links. In the higher performers, the links between science and literacy as well as other subjects have been purposefully incorporated into the curriculum; interdisciplinary links appear in science curriculum maps.

Selected Evidence

In Jamestown, the science curriculum map identifies content, skills, standards met, and essential questions. The action plans for ELA and mathematics include goals in all subjects, including science.

Greene’s extensive planning process lays out goals, actions steps, and timeframes. One goal for 2006-9 was unified implementation of the curriculum and one strategy was to maintain teacher awareness of curricular requirements, K-12.