Saturday, June 7, 2008

Curriculum Director: Expendable or Invaluable?

A curriculum supervisor (or director) develops, implements, and coordinates new programs within the schools of a district for grades K-12. In some cases they also supervise teacher development and oversee grants for the district. The qualifications for a curriculum supervisor are not light: a Master's Degree and either a Supervisor, Principal, or Superintendent certificate, with previous experience as an administrator preferred. So it is not surprising that the position doesn't come cheap.

This piece published in The Record on June 6th speaks to the dilemma of whether or not it is worth it to employ such a position within a district. Some pros and cons are examined, with examples of what is currently being done in some towns in Bergen County.

To see the full article, click here: Curriculum director: a vital position or unnecessary expense? (or just click on the picture)

If the right person is brought in with the expertise, this can make a huge difference for a district. This way they can anticipate programs that are needed and the supervisor can help to pick out the most beneficial programs for them. They can also oversee a group of teachers that determine the best programs.

This is a Suburban area. What are the implications for a curriculum director in an Urban district?

While googling around for a bit, I located an article in the Chiefline newsletter for the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) touting the accomplishments of Dr. Laverne Terry in the public schools of the Christiana School District in Newark, DE. Although not NJ, this is an urban district where this woman is credited in having managed, through administrative and curriculum work, "to triple overall student enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and increase enrollment of minority students by over 300%," (Chiefline, weekly update 1/31/08).

This is clearly an example where having someone working at and overseeing curriculum made a large positive impact on enrollment in academically rigorous programs. I think the potential is great, but the effect depends on the individual in the position as well as the follow through of other administrators and teachers.

The alternative to paying a separate position of curriculum director may be to allow teachers and lower-level specialists to take on the task, working as a team. This definitely saves money in the district's pocketbook, and subjects can be overseen individually, but it seems there is something to be said for the attention and focus that a curriculum director can potentially give to a district's programs being best fit.

Works cited:
"Curriculum director: a vital position or unnecessary expense?" by Maya Kremen, Staff writer. The Record, page L-2, June 6th 2008.

"U.S. Virgin Islands Nominates Dr. Laverne Terry as Chief" by Paul Ferrari. Chiefline e-mail newsletter weekly update, 1/31/08.


M said...

Very interesting. Thanks for the post.

Our district uses a program called WOW. Working on the Work. Dr. Phil Schlechty is behind it.

Have an easy weekend.


Laura said...

That was an interesting article and one worth pondering. Indeed it seems that there are many ways to improve on education and implementation of newer techniques but they are just not put into practice, either because of money or a lack of trust among individuals in question.
It seems to me to be a good idea to have someone responsible for the curriculum; though it is true that more money would be needed. As far as the teachers developing it, I also think that it would work, as long as they cooperated with each other. Maybe setting up a community within the school with one teacher for each grade or subject would help and that way they could also develop interdisciplinary lessons and/or classrooms.