5 Step Curriculum Innovation & Review Cycle and Process

Vertical Curriculum Leadership Teams

The Northampton Public Schools curriculum work is advanced by the Vertical Curriculum Leadership Teams, which are comprised of grade level leaders and department curriculum representatives and chairs and the cycle of renewal for each curricular area spans over a two year period; the first year is for review, research, purchases, and updating curriculum plans and maps and the second year is for professional development and classroom implementation. The rationale for having a cycle is to focus attention, human resources and budgetary resources on 1-2 curricular areas at a time in order to have the greatest impact on student learning and achievement.


Mathematics (II)

Literacy/English/ELA/ELE (I)


Literacy/English/ELA/ELE (II)

Science/Health/PE (I)


Science/Health/PE (II)

Social Studies/History/World Languages (I)


Social Studies/History (II)

Art/Music/Library Media Science/Technology/Digital Literacy (I)


Art/Music/Library Media Science/Technology/Digital Literacy (II)

Mathematics (I)


Step 1: Vision and Philosophy

As a district, develop a common rationale amongst our CLT building administrators and teachers that will allow us to build common language when developing and reviewing curriculum.

Guiding Question:

What do we hope students gain by being educated in the Northampton Public Schools?

Step 2: Curriculum Review 

Guiding Questions:

What strengths & needs does our assessment data reveal?

Does our core curriculum support teaching the standards in a rigorous and engaging way or will we research alternatives?

Step 3: Rate Core Curriculum (and/or research & rate alternatives using NPS Curriculum Rating Scales)

Guiding Questions:

How well-aligned to the standards is the material?

Is it anti-biased and anti-racist and does it reflect our student population?

How rigorous are the lessons?

How engaging is the material? Is it interactive and are there digital options?


Step 4: Write/Update Curriculum Maps

Guiding Questions:

What vocabulary is essential and can create a stronger foundation for other grade levels and courses?

What are the connections to history and students’ lives ? How culturally responsive/diverse are the materials?

What improvements could be made to support technology integration?

What materials and resources are essential to teach to the curriculum to support the MA Curriculum Frameworks?

What supports are in place or are needed to support ELLs and diverse learners?

Step 5: Professional Development & Implementation

Guiding Question:

How will TLC ensure the curriculum is being taught in the most effective ways to all students?

How will we describe and share the curriculum (and process for developing it) with all stakeholders?