Implementing a curriculum innovation with sustainability: A case study from Upstate New York
Bermel, Janet Rosso
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This single case study examines a district-wide curriculum implementation through the lens of a widely-renowned model for effective innovation. A suburban elementary school in upstate New York is one of thirteen schools in the district impacted by the innovation. The Westerville (pseudonym) Central School District adopted the Chicago School Mathematics Project's "Everyday Math" (SRA Corp.) in a bold move to conform to the more rigorous Federal and State Standards (early 21st Century) in the region. The period of implementation was a full decade (1997-2007), in one of the most progressive districts in the state. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (Hall & Hord, 2006) is a widely known, grassroots rubric or assessment for individuals involved in the change process. The creators posit that a certain level of meta-cognitive awareness is necessary for stakeholders to "take on" a major curriculum implementation and become invested in the process. The authors of the three-dimensional change model emphasize that the staff's ability to adapt (process) is ultimately more important than the curriculum (product) itself. Change literature is examined extensively from the early diffusion studies of Rogers(1983)to the work of Fullan and Hargreaves/Giles. Particular emphasis is given to large, well-documented studies of mathematics and technology implementations worldwide. Current topics addressed are: school restructuring, sustainability, resiliency and renewal; administrators and design teams or cadres as instructional leaders, staff development issues and the necessity for clear channels of communication throughout the change process.