A team of 26 educational leaders from Lutheran schools across the district is writing a social studies consensus curriculum for grades 1-8 that integrates faith statements and gives teachers access to rich classroom resources. The core team of six educators chose social studies because it lends itself to faith integration. The team pulled together twenty additional teachers to write curriculum using the online platform Atlas Rubicon, which is accessible to nearly all Lutheran schools in the district. This year, five schools are piloting the curriculum, giving feedback on the curriculum as they use it.
Julie Dietrich, curriculum consultant for the Indiana District, said the team has learned so much working on this initiative together. “We’ve learned to adjust our thinking and collaboratively work together to bring our students quality, faith-based, state standard-aligned consensus curriculum.”
In the past, most schools documented their own curriculum and had few, if any, teammates with which to collaborate.
“The consensus curriculum can make the isolated school feel connected,” Julie added. “We are a district of many schools. We may not all be the same, but we do have one thing in common…we all seek student success and desire to help students connect their faith to their learning. The consensus curriculum initiative intends to help make that happen on a larger level than ever before.”
One advantage to the consensus curriculum is that it’s a living and fluid document. Edits can be made easily because of its home on the Atlas online hub. In addition, the curriculum meets state standards, incorporates faith integrations, and provides a learning plan, resources, and assessments. Because student needs vary, teachers can evaluate what is most effective for their classroom and choose what works for them. Best of all, teachers are no longer alone in finding those resources that support student learning. Through the consensus curriculum, district schools will have dozens of resources at their disposal.
“Professionally I have grown in my understanding and application of curriculum,” said Andy Montgomery, fifth grade teacher at St. Peter’s Lutheran School who is a curriculum writer for the initiative. “Over the past few years, I mapped with the understanding of completing a checklist and providing a snapshot of what information was in my classroom. Through this process, I have worked with a wonderful team to provide an active and living road map for classrooms.”
Through Atlas, online resources and activities for social studies are available through the consensus curriculum. Teachers choose their own content and the sources are uploaded or linked for all educators to use with ease.
“The IDCI resources help enhance my students’ understanding of the material that I would normally cover in a few short paragraphs in a textbook,” Andy added. “It has enriched my classroom activities and worksheets. Students are working collaboratively to discover new information and apply it to using important technology and life skills. Above all else, this map is intentional in integrating God’s word into the classroom.”
The curriculum team will meet in June to reflect on their pilot year. Their plan is to release the social studies consensus curriculum to all district schools for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
The Indiana District Curriculum Initiative is meant to support our schools and teachers, and strengthen our students’ learning.
“I pray this consensus curriculum connects our schools in a new way and that God is using this as the start of something even bigger,” Julie added. “We’re connected and stronger because of it. When we’re stronger, our students are the ones to benefit.”
For more information, watch the video on Sharing Christ through Education below.