Providing all students access to challenging curricula doesn’t happen by chance. It begins with a shared belief in the capacity of all students to be able to master challenging material. And it requires that teachers develop confidence in their own capacity to teach all of their students the same rigorous content. To this end, leaders of the schools NCUST has studied, supported teachers toward gaining a shared understanding of the content they must teach and planning lessons that were likely to get all students to master that content by designing the master schedule to provide teachers regular, sufficient collaborative planning time to:
- work together to identify the most important concepts and skills within the discipline they were teaching.
- develop shared understandings of what mastery of each standard or learning objective implied for students.
- develop shared expectations about what students should demonstrate to convince teachers that mastery had been achieved.
- create a “guaranteed and viable” curriculum by determining a reasonable calendar for teaching and assessing key concepts.
- design lessons that provide every student an opportunity to achieve mastery of the same challenging content. To ask, “What instruction, resources, experiences, and learning activities will students need to master this content/skill?”