If you ask teachers what curriculum they use, 95% of them would respond with “We use [insert book publisher here].” I want to clear something up before we begin: curriculum is not a text book.
Many of you may have been under the same assumption. At Penn Christian Academy, we approach curriculum the same way we approach everything else – differently through a biblical lens.
Curriculum at Penn Christian Academy (PCA) is the sum total of how children are taught – the resources, the guest speakers, the field trips, and the activities. Let me say it again - curriculum is not a text book.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) document is a list of standards that students should achieve - it is NOT curriculum in and of itself.
PCA's curricular guides were written from 2002-2009 and were based on state or national standards at that time. Each year a committee of teachers, and sometimes parents, reviews a different section of the curricular guide to ensure that we are continuing to meet or exceed current state or national standards. Last year, teachers took the extra step of embedding the PA Core standard numbers for English/Language Arts and the Common Core standard numbers for Math within our documents. Our Science Lab instructor also rearranged some of our Science units and added others, to include Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Having our outcomes/objectives tied to standard numbers paints a clearer picture of how we align with important educational updates.
PCA filters all instruction through the biblical worldview. If at any point CCSS would conflict with bibilical worldview teaching, we would stay true to who we are and teach biblically. So far, we have not come across this type of discrepancy.
When our Math curricular guide was written, the National Council of Teaching Mathematics (NCTM) was a basis for the content. In August of 2013, NCTM posted a position statement on Common Core standards, stating that "When properly implemented, the Common State Standards will support all students' access to, and success in, high-quality mathematics programs." (http://www.nctm.org/) This is one of the reasons that we have "aligned with" rather than "adopted" Common Core. It is not a stand-alone curriculum.
We will continue to use current best practices in instruction, the creativity of the expert teachers that God provides at PCA, and resources that support our instruction.
Mrs. Angie Gillis, M.Ed.