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Survey reveals teachers dissatisfied with curriculum

By Christine McCarthy

WACO- Waco ISD teachers are less satisfied with their curriculum now than they were in past years, according to an employee opinion survey.

The survey handed out last spring asked teachers if the program in their school allows their students to master their curriculum. Only 44 percent of teachers at G.W. Carver Academy Middle School agreed or strongly agreed, while 54 percent of Waco High School teachers agreed.

Another question asked teachers whether their curriculum objectives and materials are occasionally reviewed with their own input involved. Teachers at G.W. Carver showed only 31 percent agreement. At Waco High, 48 percent agreed, and at University Middle School, 36 percent agreed.

Waco ISD's numbers are not unusual across the state, according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Jennifer Womack, who still acknowledged the district's numbers are down and work needs to be done.

Womack said some dissatisfaction among teachers could stem from a new curriculum called C SCOPE, which was implemented about four years ago system-wide to ensure consistency for students.

"C SCOPE defines basically for us the scope and sequence and then it also outlines the, basically, the depth and the rigor to which we're teaching," Womack said. "And that appeared to be as if it were restricting to some that may have had a little more freedom and leeway."

A paper presenting the results of the survey identifies other factors related to the timing of the survey that could have negatively affected the numbers. Those include closing and consolidating some campuses and new state assessment tests.

There was a wide range of answers, however, with teachers at some campuses reporting 100 percent satisfaction with curriculum and instruction. Teachers at Sul Ross Elementary, Kendrick Elementary, West Ave Elementary and McLennan County Challenge Academy all agreed or strongly agreed with at least one question.

The Waco ISD Board of Trustees met on Thursday night to gather more information about the results and begin to tackle any problems.

The school district will use a "Heat Map," a tool designed to analyze any hot spots in the curriculum and instruction. Small focus groups will also gather to discuss any problem areas.

Womack said the district would continue to help teachers who feel limited by C SCOPE become more comfortable by using their own classroom design and delivery.

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