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UFT-DOE curriculum focus group

Aligning curriculum to standards

New York Teacher
Participants in the meeting take part in an exercise. Two women in the front are engaged.
Jonathan Fickies
Participants in the Curriculum Focus Group meeting, including Tamika Tolliver (facing camera, left) of PS 78 in the Bronx and Angela Chi-Uriarte (facing camera, right) of PS 123 in Manhattan, engage in a “concentric circle” exercise.

How can educators evaluate and implement curricula that exemplify clear standards for students? That was the center of the discussion at the first UFT-DOE curriculum focus group at UFT headquarters in Manhattan on March 3. Until the coronavirus outbreak brought the new project to a temporary halt, the UFT was working closely with the city Department of Education and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators to measure the alignment of the DOE’s core curricula with the Next Generation Learning Standards. In the focus group, UFT Teacher Center site coordinators and DOE representatives discussed their visions for standards and practiced evaluating curricula using a new alignment tool. “Every school has its own culture around instruction,” said Heather Heal Fernandez, the Teacher Center site coordinator at IS 61 on Staten Island. Part of the goal of the group is to take those considerations into account. “We never think about curriculum in isolation,” said Rita Danis, a co-director of the UFT Teacher Center, “and we never lose sight of the power of practitioners.”