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Education department releases sample curriculum aligned to new standards

The Colorado Department of Education on Monday published more than 100 pieces of sample classroom units aligned to the new Colorado Academic Standards.

The curriculum examples were designed by teams of teachers throughout Colorado in collaboration with the department’s Standards and Instructional Support division. The District Sample Curriculum Project, as it’s called, is believed to be the first of its kind in the department’s history.

State officials, always wary of local-control pushback from district leaders, said they launched the project last year only after several requests were made from classrooms. Districts are expected to have begun teaching to the new standards this year. And they’ve been doing so at various paces.

The standards, adopted by the state in 2009, cover 10 different content areas, including social studies, science and world languages. Colorado’s math and English language standards were fused with the Common Core State Standards, a set of standards developed by and adopted by 45 states, in 2010.

The curriculum project includes one full instructional unit per content area, per grade level. The goal, officials said, was not to develop a statewide curriculum but to provide teachers the resources and examples of how to build instruction plans to the new standards on their own.

“As examples, they are intended to provide support, or serve as conversation starting points, for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students,” wrote Brian Sevier, leader of the instructional support department, in an email to districts.

The department will host a series of webinars in April to discuss the how the units were made and how they can be adopted to individual classrooms.