Rigorous Curriculm Design
There are many ways to implement the California Common Core State Standards. School districts may purchase an already created curriculum from an outside vendor. This type of curriculum is created by people who have never been to Riverside or are familiar with the needs of Alvord students.
The choice in Alvord Unified School District was to put the ownership of curriculum into the hands of people who know their students the best. Those people are the teachers from Transitional Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Teams of teachers were formed into Instructional Leadership Teams (ILT) for each grade and subject area to create instructional units for the new Common Core Standards.
Creating curriculum is not an easy task. For most teachers this is a new experience. Creating curriculum for the Common Core is a daunting task even for the most experienced curriculum designer..
In order to give teachers a systematic approach in creating curriculum Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) was chosen. During the 2013 - 14 teachers were trained in Rigorous Curriculum Design. As they were trained they also began creating their units. Two additional weeks after the school year were spent creating units. Several units have been created for the 2014 - 15 school year with the remaining units being completed when school starts again in the fall.
One persuasive point to understand about why RCD was chosen is how the units are contextualized for Alvord. As teachers created the units they had Alvord students in their mind. When most curriculum is designed the content is considered separately from the student. When Alvord teachers created the RCD units content, standards, and the interest and needs of the students were used to maximize the learning from the units.
PDF Brief Presentation for Understanding the Unit Planning Organizer