San Saba ISD is embarking on a venture that will change our District and the quality of the education we provide our students dramatically in the future. In previous columns I have talked to you about the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); the TEKS are provided to school districts by the Texas Education Agency and they are the curriculum framework that is mandated to be taught to school children of Texas. The TEKS are very broad in scope, thus a great deal is left to interpretation by the grade level or content area teacher. The TEKS tell us what should be taught in a broad manner, but not how the content will be taught or how it will be tested.
After almost a year long study of curriculum products, San Saba ISD along with the Education Service Center Region XV and its 42 member districts selected CSCOPE as the curriculum product of choice. CSCOPE is quickly approaching the curriculum of choice by both large and small school districts across Texas. Large school districts with many curriculum specialists and a great deal of funding are able to write and revise their own curriculum product. Small schools such as San Saba ISD do not have the funding or the personnel to accomplish this task. Currently 22 school districts in Region 15 have signed agreements to use CSCOPE in some manner in the coming school year – this represents 10,000 students in the region. Throughout the state by the beginning of the coming school year over 400 districts will be implementing CSCOPE.
What is the curriculum product called CSCOPE? CSCOPE is on highly developed scope and sequence aligned with the TEKS that provides exemplar lessons, a yearly plan of instruction, and vertical alignment documents that guide instruction. CSCOPE is not without controversy. This curriculum presents the TEKS in a concept manner with students investigating, manipulating and discovering concepts that develop into skills. This type of learning keeps students engaged as they learn by “doing” and applying knowledge. The curriculum is student centered, rather than teacher center. Most of us were taught under a teacher center method – teacher lecturing in front of the classroom. The curriculum is controversial because it challenges the school staff from the superintendent, the campus principals, counselors and teachers to step out of their comfort level and learn new instructional methods. Additionally, it will challenge us as leaders to communicate with our parents and community about the progress of our implementation.
As parents and community members you will hear the good, the bad and the ugly about CSCOPE. As have our teachers, principals and counselors who have traveled to the school districts who have implemented this product. The implementation is hard on our teachers and takes a great deal of time and study. It is the desire of each and every staff member at San Saba ISD to provide the very best education for our community children. We truly feel that the move to this curriculum product will provide us the means to accomplish this goal. The children are the most important thing, how can we choose to do anything but what is best for them.
In the very near future we will be hosting information sessions and setting up a CSCOPE page on our website. We hope you will join us in our venture to provide San Saba’s children with an exceptional education through great teachers and the CSCOPE curriculum. For more information on CSCOPE, please go to http://www5.esc13.net/cscope/. For a news report featuring one of our area school districts and their CSCOPE student success, please go to KXAN TV at http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/hill_country/New_program_raises_student_performance Please do not hesitate to come in and visit with us about the CSCOPE product or attend an information session.
Please remember that our website is the key to keeping up-to-date on school happenings. Please visit www.san-saba.net to view events and find information you need to know about SSISD.
If you have any questions about this article or any other question about school happenings please contact me at 325/372-3144.