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Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
 1 Ebony Lee, PhD
Director
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Supporting Literacy at Home
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The Purpose of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is to provide the necessary core curriculum, instructional resources, and professional learning that support the Superintendent’s Instructional Focus Areas, which are as follows:

  1. Provide Academically Challenging and Safe Environments grounded in the instructional priorities of Literacy,
    Numeracy, Critical Thinking, and Technology Integration
  2. Provide Academic and Wrap-Around Support for students to achieve on and above grade-level content mastery
  3. Provide Professional Development to improve content knowledge, pedagogy, and leadership capacity

Our district’s Academic Achievement Plan has a targeted focus on Goal 1 of the Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) Strategic Plan, which is to increase academic achievement for ALL students in Clayton County Public Schools. “The Plan provides a research-based foundation that explains the academic challenges our students face, and the instructional practices that must be implemented in every classroom and every subject area to increase student achievement,” according to Chief Academic Officer Folasade Oladele. The district has identified the following instructional priorities on which we will continue to focus our work. These included: (1) literacy across the curriculum, (2) numeracy across the curriculum, (3) critical thinking, and (4) integrated technology. AdvancEd reviewed the district’s Plan, and stated that the “system has a well-crafted Academic Achievement Plan that has the potential to catapult the system to its next level of achievement. Implementing it with fidelity will ensure that the Clayton County Schools’ Core Beliefs undergird all instructional decisions and actions” (AdvancED External Review, April 17, 2013, p. 29). Our challenge is to implement the plan with high levels of fidelity.

 

 In addition to our Academic Achievement Plan, CCPS has instituted research-based instructional expectations and practices in an effort to increase leaders’ and teachers’ capacity and student achievement. These expectations are:

  • Deconstruct standards
  • Plan collaboratively
  • Provide clear expectations
  • Use Explicit Instruction Framework
  • Implement K-5 reading program as designed
  • Implement reading intervention programs as designed at all grade levels 
  • Implement a multi-tiered system of support for reading and math achievement
  • Use district assessment tools
  • Provide Instructional Site Facilitators (ISF)—site-based professional learning between the school and the district staff
  • Increase use of curriculum resources—Standards-Based Core Curriculum 
  • Monitor curriculum implementation and effectiveness of explicit instruction and data results


Elementary classroom

The Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment has established data driven-decision making as one of the district’s instructional expectations.  In order to support this expectation, schools have been provided a framework entitled S.T.A.R.T.S. Clayton County Public Schools, All Rights Reserved, ©2016 (Students, Time, Assessments, Resources, Teaching Techniques, and Standards), which guides the planning and preparation process.  As a part of this framework, teachers consider various forms of student assessment data in order to make the appropriate instructional decisions for their students.   Utilizing this tool assists schools with 1) using progress monitoring data to support student learning, 2) developing school-level common assessment plans, and 3) analyzing data to improve instruction and learning. 

The Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
 expects for all teachers across all grade levels and contents/programs to use the Gradual Release of Responsibility Framework, also referred to as explicit instruction, to deliver instruction. A multi-level training plan has been used to expose district-leaders, administrators, teacher-leaders, and teachers to the specific teacher and student behaviors that are present at each stage of instruction. A multitude of support tools are available. They include the texts Better Learning (Fisher & Frey, 2013) and CORE Sourcebook (Honig & Diamond, 2012), model videos, CCPS Lesson Plan Template, CCPS Lesson Observation Tool. 

 

Robotics Session

Explicit instruction is a structured, systematic, and effective methodology for teaching academic skills.  It is called “explicit” because it is an unambiguous and direct approach to teaching that includes both instructional design and delivery procedures.  Explicit instruction is characterized by a series of supports or scaffolds, whereby students are guided through the learning process with clear statements about the purpose and rationale for learning the new skill, clear explanations and demonstrations, and supported practice with feedback until independent mastery has been achieved (Archer & Hughes, 2011).


Teaching and Learning Links:            

Academic Achievement Plan
Explicit Instruction White Paper
Explicit Lesson Plan Template