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JPPSS Provides All Students with Top Rated Learning Material

JPPSS teachers and administrators are spending time this summer learning and developing the district’s new Tier 1 curriculum.

Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) teachers and administrators have spent much of the summer break preparing for a change that Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley calls “historic.”

JPPSS has adopted a Tier 1 curriculum for all schools in English, math, and social studies. Starting with the upcoming school year, students will learn from curriculum that’s received the top rating from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE).

“Our students deserve the highest level of resources available. By providing our new curriculum, we are improving each child’s opportunity to be a master of their own learning,” said Dr. Brumley. “It’s also exciting to see our teachers and leaders engaged in trainings this summer to be prepared to maximize the school year.”

A curriculum is the resources educators use to teach students the standards they’re expected to learn. A curriculum earns a “Tier 1” rating from the LDOE when it’s judged to “exemplify quality.” Tier 1 curricula earned the best possible score on all indicators of superior quality.

Research shows that a high-quality curriculum has significant impact on student outcomes. A top-rated curriculum can serve as an academic equalizer that contributes to student learning and narrows achievement gaps.

The Jefferson Parish School Board approved these changes during their May meeting and JPPSS teachers and administrators have been training on the new curriculum during the summer months. These sessions will continue throughout the summer break and into the school year. Along with learning how to use these new tools, JPPSS teachers are also using their expertise to create curriculum materials. Studies show that those closest to students are best positioned to decide which curriculum is appropriate.

Louisiana school systems select curricula that are best for their local communities. The LDOE tasked a team of teachers from across the state to review all curricula available to Louisiana districts. The review determined each curriculum’s degree of alignment with state content standards. Along with Tier 1 (Exemplifies Quality), the state scores curriculum Tier 2 (Approaching Quality) and Tier 3 (Not Representing Quality).

Prior to JPPSS adopting a Tier 1 curriculum at all schools, the district contained a mixture of Tier 1, 2, and 3. By adopting a standard, system-wide Tier 1 curriculum, the district can narrow its focus and provide better implementation support to schools. A standard curriculum also benefits the district’s transient population. Students who change schools within JPPSS during the school year will still learn from the same curriculum.

The shift will be a challenge for students, teachers, and parents, as the new curriculum is more rigorous. The district is writing curriculum maps to help improve implementation at schools. District staff and teachers are also working to create resources for families to help support with Tier 1 implementation. Families are encouraged to stay connected with their teachers and schools for information and resources on making this transition as smooth as possible.

“Our new curriculum will equip all schools with the highest quality resources available. It will challenge students to think at complex levels,” said JPPSS Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Jenna Chiasson. “By engaging in these higher levels of thinking, students will be prepared for opportunities after high school.”