Our Commitment to Rigor

  • Definitions:

    • Standards are the knowledge and skills students need to acquire in a given content area.
    • Curriculum is the delivery system for ensuring that all students achieve their designated grade- or course-specific standards.
    • Benchmarks and learning targets break down standards into specific knowledge and skills. Priority benchmarks receive more instructional emphasis.
    • Instructional strategies are the specific actions educators take to help students achieve specific learning targets.
    • Instructional materials are the resources used to support instructional strategies.
    • Rigorous instruction actively engages students in culturally responsive, standards based learning to prepare them for the next level and beyond. It challenges students to think deeply and critically, reflect on current precepts and assumptions and respond with honest expression. Rigor includes requiring students to continually demonstrate their learning through multiple means and contexts.

    On standards and benchmarks:

    • All students have equal access to rigorous curriculum and receive the consistent message that they are expected to attain high standards in their schoolwork.
    • Curriculum aligns with standards and identifies specific learning outcomes students are to achieve in all grades and content areas.
    • Clear pathways and articulations demonstrate how skills and knowledge build from one grade or course to another.
    • Students have options for how to meet standards; differentiation takes into account the range of learner strengths and learning preferences.
    • Priority benchmarks and learning targets for lessons are posted and stated in student-friendly language.
    • Academic vocabulary is explicitly taught and reviewed.
    • All teachers understand language acquisition standards and support the needs of multilingual learners.
    • Student success is routinely communicated to families and staff to support continual academic growth.

    The SPPS curriculum:

    • values and incorporates multiple racial and cultural perspectives
    • provides a comprehensive roadmap that presents new teachers with a structure and pace to follow, and experienced teachers with a framework within which to apply their expertise
    • is aligned among courses and subject areas to support common language across disciplines and the application of skills and knowledge to multiple contexts
    • is specific as to standards and benchmark expectations and flexible as to instructional strategies and materials used to address them.

    Instruction in SPPS:

    • supports students as they construct deeper knowledge through independent, large-group, small-group, and hands-on experiences
    • features lesson sequences that instruct in small steps building on the tasks a learner is already able to do independently
    • challenges students to use critical thinking skills to synthesize, analyze, and interpret
    • is tailored to meet individual student needs by adjusting the what, the when, and the how of the learning
    • integrates multiple means of expression and ways to access information – including sight, sound, and movement – in all content areas and all aspects of the school day
    • includes a variety of reading, writing and math resources accessible to students
    • takes advantage of digital technology
    • provides universal access to curriculum and grade-level standards through inclusionary practices for English Learners and students identified with disabilities

    On assessments and data:

    • Assessment is a key link between standards and instruction.
    • Teachers use the results of ongoing formative assessment to monitor the progress of student learning and adjust instruction.
    • Professional learning communities use assessment data as a means to examine practice and collaborate on improving outcomes.
    • Site and district administrators use assessment results in charting the overall course of curriculum and instruction.
    • Assessment tools – teacher-created, standardized, performance-based – are chosen with the intended use of their data in mind.
    • The grading of learning provides information to students and families about their progress toward meeting standards.

    Our Schedules: