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This paper examines how the Melrose-Mindoro School District, a rural school district in Wisconsin, implemented curriculum reform. Current national reform agendas focus on the organization of student learning experiences, the roles teachers assume in schools, and the organization and management of schools. Equally important in implementing change is having knowledge of educational issues, realizing how change occurs, and possessing the skills necessary to work cooperatively in implementing change. In October 1993, the Melrose-Mindoro School District applied for and received a grant to implement evaluation and revision of the district's language arts and reading curriculum. As part of the process, 18 elementary and secondary school teachers enrolled in a graduate-level curriculum class. Following an overview of historical perspectives of curriculum development and theory, teachers began constructing individual grade-level goals and curriculum objectives, seeking input from board members and other staff concerning established goals, rewriting the curriculum to match established goals and objectives, and developing measures for student and programmatic evaluation. An analysis of this school district's curriculum reform efforts reveals limitations related to time constraints of the graduate class for completing the curriculum reform process and poor support from the school board. However, several factors that contributed to the success of the project include allowing teachers the freedom to be active researchers, developers, implementers, and consumers of the curriculum; encouraging teachers to build a student-centered curriculum that would fit their students' needs; and empowering teachers to build their own visions of what the curriculum should be. When teachers are empowered to have a central role in the process of educational change, then the planned reform is likely to be what the school needs to build success for their students. Contains 27 references. (LP)

Descriptors: Board of Education Role, Change Strategies, Collegiality, Curriculum Development, Educational Change, Educational Practices, Elementary Secondary Education, Graduate Study, Higher Education, Inservice Teacher Education, Rural Schools, School Districts, School Restructuring, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Role

Autor: Shanks, Joyce; And Others


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