Sioux Center Christian School has been working toward fully implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum. This website is one of the ways that we update stakeholders on the work of the Iowa Core Curriculum at Sioux Center Christian School. The district leadership team has created this website to share information related to three questions:
1. What is the Iowa Core Curriculum?
2. Who has been working toward implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum at Sioux Center Christian School?
3. What has Sioux Center Christian School done to work toward fully implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum?
What is the Iowa Core Curriculum?
The Iowa Core is based on the belief that Iowa's students deserve an education that helps them succeed. The Iowa Core provides academic expectations for all Iowa's K-12 students. It does so by helping teachers take learning to a deeper level by focusing on a well-researched set of standards in literacy and mathematics and essential concepts and skills in science, social studies, and 21st century learning (civic literacy, financial literacy, technology literacy, health literacy, and employability skills). The Iowa Core is a student-based approach that supports high expectations for all students.
The Iowa Core Curriculum (ICC) is a state-wide effort to improve teaching and learning to ensure that all Iowa students engage in a rigorous and relevant curriculum. The ICC focuses on three areas: content (what is taught), instruction (how things are taught), and assessment (how we know students have learned). Teachers are equipped in these three areas through professional development. Each of these pieces must work together to ensure that our students succeed. Six universal constructs have been identified as the building blocks for success in the 21st century: critical thinking, complex communication, creativity, collaboration, flexibility and adaptability, and productivity and accountability.
The Iowa Core Curriculum is a state-mandated and legislated initiative, passed during the 2008 legislative session, through Senate File 2216. The Common Core State Standards in Literacy and Mathematics were integrated into the Iowa Core by Iowa State Board of Education action in 2010. All school districts and accredited nonpublic schools are required to fully implement the Iowa Core in grades 9-12 by July 1, 2012 and grades K-8 by the 2014-2015 school year. The ICC is a requirement for all accredited schools in the state of Iowa. It is a great opportunity for SCCS to review its current curriculum, continually improve instruction, and focus on assessment tools. It is also a great springboard for quality professional development.
Sioux Center Christian School has been working on aligning with and fulfilling our responsibilities with the Iowa Core Curriculum since 2008. The process of alignment involves these questions: Are we teaching the right content at each level? Do our assessment choices align with that content? Do we use assessments to make choices on instruction? Are we teaching content in an effective way? Our deadline to be fully aligned is July 1, 2014. We must show that our current content standards align with those in the ICC. The ICC team feels that there is no part of the ICC curriculum that doesn’t fit with our school’s mission.
Full implementation is accomplished when the district or school is able to provide evidence that an ongoing process is in place to ensure that each and every student is learning the essential concepts and skills of the Iowa Core. A school that has fully implemented the Iowa Core is engaged in an ongoing process of data gathering and analysis, decision making, identifying actions, and assessing impact around alignment and professional development focused on content, instruction, and assessment. The school is fully engaged in a continuous improvement process that specifically targets improved student learning and performance.
The following six outcomes have been defined to assist districts and schools in fully implementing the Iowa Core:
1. School leaders build and sustain system capacity to implement the Iowa Core.
2. Community members and other supporting agencies work together to support the implementation of the Iowa Core.
3. A continuous improvement process to improve teaching and learning is used at the district and school level.
4. District leaders and other educators monitor and use data to increase the degree of alignment of each and every student’s enacted curriculum and other relevant educational opportunities to the Iowa Core.
5. Educators engage in professional development focused on implementing Characteristics of Effective Instruction and demonstrate understanding of Essential Concepts and Skills.
6. Educators implement effective instructional practices to ensure high levels of learning for each and every student.
For more information, check out http://educateiowa.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2485&Itemid=4602.
Who has been working toward implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum at Sioux Center Christian School?
Harlan De Vries, Rebecca De Smith, Robin Haack, Josh Bowar, Beth Bleeker, Megan Haan, Peg De Haan, Rylan Brue, Caden Zonnefeld, Kevin Timmer, and Ryan Zonnefeld make up our District Leadership Team. The teachers and stakeholders of SCCS have also been working to ensure full implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum. All teachers have been actively involved in the implementation work of the Iowa Core Curriculum.
What has Sioux Center Christian School done to work toward fully implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum?
- VISION STATEMENT: We have completed a vision statement for our work of the Iowa Core Curriculum. This vision was created by our District Leadership Team and outlines what we hope to accomplish through implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum. The ultimate goals of our work at SCCS with the ICC include: better teaching, better learning, better assessment, better support, leadership at all levels, and community involvement.
- DISTRICT LEADERSHIP TEAM: The District Leadership Team has been actively meeting during the first, second, third-a and third-b, and fourth quarters of the school year. The team has also attended local AEA trainings during the 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 school years. Since then, the AEA has not provided trainings related to the leadership of the ICC; rather, they have provided content area trainings, which SCCS teachers have attended.
- FLOW CHART: We have created a flow chart that highlights our goals toward implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum. This flow chart is used to guide our work, and we work on updating the flow chart periodically to make sure that we continually assess our implementation plans. An updated flow chart was created during the 2012-2013 school year and is currently being used to monitor implementation progress.
- GRAPHIC TO GUIDE OUR WORK: We have been using the graphic below to guide our work of implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum. Created by Pella Christian Grade School, the graphic easily explains what we are working to accomplish through implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum at SCCS. It includes the 6 components of the Iowa Core and what we believe the outcome will be for the Iowa Core at SCCS.
The Iowa Core graphic pictured above is a visual interpretation of the Sioux Center Christian School Iowa Core vision. Our vision for the Iowa Core begins with the centrality of God's Word. The Iowa Core has six pieces, with the first two being support structures around the "hub" of God's Word. These support structures are “shared leadership” and “community”. Notice that both of these support structures are rooted in the hub of the wheel. The spokes in the wheel represent the remaining four parts of the Iowa Core. These four parts are “Characteristics of Effective Instruction”, “Ongoing Assessment”, “Professional Development”, and “Curriculum Alignment”. The visual also expresses the desired outcome of implementing the Iowa Core, that being student success. We define student success by the accomplishment of the SCCS Iowa Core vision and the SCCS mission statement
- SELF STUDY: The District Leadership Team began the work of implementing the Iowa Core by completing a self study for 2011-2012 and also a self study for 2012-2013. A self study was also completed for 2013-2014. The self study is a tool that helped the team to analyze the current state of the 6 Iowa Core outcomes at Sioux Center Christian School. After discovering the current state, the team rated the school on each item and also set priorities for working on each item. The self study is updated annually in an effort to use the document to continuously guide our work of implementing the Iowa Core at SCCS.
- TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Teachers at SCCS have been learning about the Iowa Core and have been working toward implementing the Iowa Core into their classrooms in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. To learn more about what teachers have been doing, head to the SCCS professional development wiki, a site complete with group plans, minutes, and many resources. The team has also created a professional development plan for the 2012-2013 school year that highlights the use of the Iowa Professional Development Model. Other work that has been completed includes an overview of the professional development plans for the ICC, a summary of the ICC goals and purposes, an introduction to the work of the ICC, and the format used for ICC Wednesdays. Teachers at SCCS have agreed to follow a covenant for peer learning time during our professional development work. They have also been working during CIA time to plan and complete ways that they can improve their curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Faculty members have participated in collaborative colleague group time, choosing groupings and planning for group work. Teachers have also been participating in local AEA workshops related to the ICC math and language arts standards.
- IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: The implementation plan for 2011-2012 and the new implementation plan for 2012-2013 both outline our progress toward fully implementing the Iowa Core at SCCS. The plans give details about how we are meeting the action steps under each of the 6 outcomes, and they provids details about resources and steps that we have taken to implement the Iowa Core. They include step-by-step tasks that we perform to meet the requirements of the Iowa Core. The implementation plans are updated yearly to reflect the progress of our school, stakeholders, and District Leadership Team. The SCCS District Leadership Team has completed the first round of the implementation plan - 2 years ahead of schedule! We have also recently received word from the Department of Education that we are in compliance (check out the report) with our first two plans. Great news!
- UPDATE TO THE SOCIETY: In June 2011, the SCCS Society was given an update on the progress of the implementation of the Iowa Core. In June 2012, the society was given another update featuring a PowerPoint presentation and a handout. Documents were handed out that gave information on the past work and the future plans for implementation, and questions were answered. In June 2013, the SCCS Society was once again updated regarding the progress of ICC implementation. Feedback was sought, and questions were also answered.
- SMART BOARD CLASS: The team provided a SMART Board class for the SCCS faculty, with the class focused on how the teachers can use the new tool in order to implement the ICC outcomes and also the characteristics of effective instruction. Teachers were able to work collaboratively on making lesson resources that they can use to implement the ICC and the characteristics of effective instruction.
- STAKEHOLDER UPDATES: A newsletter article was completed and published in the school newsletter in the fall semeester. A newsletter article was also published in the second semester newsletter. The ICC team also continues to update this website to provide current information based on the implementation of the ICC at SCCS. The school board received an update on the progress of implementing the ICC. Stakeholders may learn more about the ICC from the resources available on the Northwest AEA website. The full District Leadership Team also met (agenda and PPT) to receive updates and provide feedback on the work of the ICC at SCCS.
- FIELD TRIPS AND GUEST SPEAKERS: SCCS faculty members have been inviting guest speakers into their classrooms and planning field trips for the classes. These field trips and guest speakers help us to further implement ICC standards. Teachers complete a form that outlines how they met ICC standards through the use of guest speakers and field trips.
- CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION: The SCCS faculty has learned about ten design questions that should be asked when planning instruction, the ICC characteristics of effective instruction, best practices that relate to the characteristics of effective instruction, and how the math ICC work will progress. Teachers completed a best practices survey to show the level of use of the characteristics of effective instruction that is happening in the classrooms. The teachers have been learning about the ICC standards for each grade level. Teachers have completed entries in the ICAT program, a website that helps SCCS find curricular gaps between the intended curriculum and the enacted curriculum. Teachers have also been analyzing the entries made on the ICAT, a tool that assists in finding curricular gaps.
Where We're Headed for 2012-2013
While focusing on the mission of Sioux Center Christian School and the vision for the Iowa Core at Sioux Center Christian School, the Sioux Center Christian School District Leadership Team plans to:
1. Update our self study yearly. COMPLETED
2. Continuously update our implementation plan and document our progress toward full implementation. COMPLETED
3. Continuously update our stakeholders on the progress of Iowa Core implementation and also ask for feedback and support during the implementation process. Please continue to check this website for updated information. COMPLETED
4. Provide professional development time for teachers to work on further implementing the Iowa Core in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. We will also provide an update of the work of the SCCS District Leadership Team. COMPLETED
5. Attend AEA trainings related to the Iowa Core. COMPLETED
6. Attend AEA trainings related to implementing the math and literacy curricula. COMPLETED
7. Focus on the the ICC essential skills and concepts, guiding teachers through a process of analyzing gaps in the current curriculum and working toward filling those gaps in an effort to fully implement the math section of the Iowa Core. COMPLETED
8. Continue to encourage teachers to fill out a form that highlights how they are meeting the requirements of the Iowa Core through their classroom field trips and special guests. COMPLETED
9. Create new action plans for our next round on the implementation plan. COMPLETED
10. Create a new flow chart that will guide the work of the SCCS ICC District Leadership Team. COMPLETED
11. Continue to remind teachers about the characteristics of effective instruction, have them complete online surveys about their use of the characteristics of effective instruction, and monitor the use of those characteristics in the classrooms. COMPLETED
12. Call a full meeting of the SCCS District Leadership Team. COMPLETED
13. Provide information and seek feedback from the full school board. COMPLETED
If you have any questions about the work of implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum at Sioux Center Christian School, please contact Josh Bowar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Future postings and updates will be available on this website.
To learn more about the Iowa Core, check out these links: