The Big Picture: Linking Curriculum and Student Outcomes

The Big Picture: Linking Curriculum and Student Outcomes
Posted on 09/07/2022

Good evening! 


As we begin a new academic year, we always take a look back to assess our individual student, classroom, school, and district's end of year performance.  We do this for a myriad of reasons. For the “big picture,” we want to know if our curriculum is aligned with what is going on in classrooms to achieve student outcomes. Quakertown is systems driven.  We follow a Six-Year Curriculum Cycle Process for in-depth curriculum review, with new program and book purchases that follow.  However, after every year in between, when end-of-year results come in, we look for things that might need to be tweaked.  


Another “big picture” purpose of student performance data review in early fall is to see if we accomplished what we set out to do with student performance, as a part of the district’s Superintendent Goals.  The Board approves the Superintendent Goals every June. The Goals direct the district’s priorities for the next academic/fiscal school year.  They are always ambitious, vary from year to year, and cover the spectrum of subsystems within our district.  


For example, this year Goals include the following Domains: Student Success, Historically Underperforming Students/Equity, Career Planning, Financial Sustainability and Operations, which includes Safety.  The Superintendent Goals specifically target the nine building blocks of high-performance world-class education systems (Tucker, 2016).  For parents who have been closely following our work the past nine years, you can readily see how the Superintendent Goals have guided us to this point. For those who have had your child(ren) with us for only a short period of time, you can learn about our journey from a nine-year reflection that I shared with the Board a few weeks ago.  


Tomorrow evening at the School Board meeting during the Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Lisa Hoffman, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning, will be reviewing last year’s student performance.  The presentation completes the reporting out the Metrics results of the Superintendent Goals for 2021-22.  The Action Plan completion part was presented in June.  With COVID impacting the state’s testing requirements and reporting system during the two previous school years (2019-20 and 2020-21), the baseline year for comparing student performance for this year was against 2018-19.  At the link are the results of the 2021-22 Results of Performance Metrics worksheet that reports out the final Superintendent Goals completion.  


I was pleased with the academic growth our students made.  We are indebted to our professional staff in classrooms, guidance and nurses offices, and our support staff members,  who overcame so many obstacles to make it happen. For example, our Theory of Action calls for college bound students to take and pass at least one Advanced Placement exam to confirm that students are ready for college level work. Even with the challenges over the previous few years, our AP students have excelled. More than 75% of our HS students who go to college have confirmed they are college ready by taking and passing at least one AP exam. We are off to a great start this year.  For example, more than 80 9th-grade students are enrolled in AP Human Geography with several of them also taking AP Psychology and AP Computer Sciences Principles.  Another 130 10th graders are taking one or more AP courses.   


For students going immediately into the workforce after graduation, most are attending Upper Bucks County Technical School.  Take a look below to see how enrollment has increased over the years.  Ninth graders began attending UBCTS for the first time in the 2014-15 school year.  Our UBCTS graduates are immediately entering the workforce with certifications and skills that will last them a lifetime.


Grade/Year

16-17

17-18

18-19

19-20

20-21

21-22

22-23

9

99

57

55

77

103

98

101

10

70

97

72

69

77

111

119

11

64

78

87

71

62

70

125

12

76

73

71

78

58

59

81

Total

309

305

285

295

300

338

426


Other items on the Board agenda tomorrow night include the first reading by the Board for a new Varsity Baseball Field.  The Baseball Field is planned to be built as a multi-purpose multi-use field.  In the off-season, other teams, such as soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse, will be able to practice and compete on the turf in the outfield.  The other item for the first reading is the Five-Year Capital Projects program. One of the projects is the replacement of the entire bleacher system in the main gym of the high school.  That replacement of the bleachers, if approved, would happen next summer.  The second reading and final approval for these two items is scheduled for the next School Board meeting on September 22nd.  


Thank you for reading.  Again, please share your feedback at [email protected].  



Bill Harner

Superintendent


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