Monthly Administrative Updates

February 2024 Administrative Update

Jessica Lyons, Director of Curriculum & Instruction

by Jessica Lyons
Director of Curriculum & lnstruction

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction at East Aurora Schools has been actively engaged in several initiatives over the past 15 months, demonstrating our steadfast commitment to educational excellence and continuous improvement. As stewards of academic standards and professional development, our department has diligently overseen the evolution of curricula across all grade levels while facilitating comprehensive training opportunities for educators and parents alike.

During the past academic year, our focus on enhancing the Mathematics Department was particularly noteworthy. We conducted a rigorous review process, resulting in the adoption of the Eureka Squared Math series for Parkdale, alongside comprehensive professional development initiatives aligned with the Next Generation Math Standards. Furthermore, fostering enhanced collaboration between the middle school and high school math departments culminated in the introduction of AP Pre-Calculus, enriching our high school curriculum offerings.

Highlights of our new K–4 math curriculum include improvements in equity, accessibility, and teachability while maintaining high standards, digital lessons and interactives that fuel student discourse, math context videos, open-middle and open-ended tasks, and hands-on math manipulatives.

Central to our mission is the provision of impactful professional development opportunities. We were privileged to host esteemed educator Gerry Brooks, whose insights on fostering positive and inclusive climates resonated deeply with our faculty and staff. Our professional development agenda also encompassed critical examinations of grading practices, classroom inclusivity, and curriculum alignment, ensuring coherence and efficacy across all educational domains.

A significant milestone in our student enrichment endeavors is the introduction of the Seal of Civic Readiness, which is a formal recognition that a student has attained a high level of proficiency in terms of civic knowledge, civic skills, civic mindset, and civic experiences. The Seal of Civic Readiness distinction on a high school transcript and diploma:

  • shows the student’s understanding of a commitment to participatory government;

  • civic responsibility and civic values;

  • demonstrates to universities, colleges, and future employers that the student has completed an action project in civics or social justice;

  • and recognizes the value of civic engagement and scholarship.

Beginning with the Class of 2026, the majority of EAHS students will acquire the NYS Seal of Civic Readiness through the twice-yearly High School Service Learning Days and passing the Global History and United States History Regents exams.

Within the realm of instruction, our endeavors have extended beyond traditional academics to encompass the nurturing of student social-emotional learning. Concurrently, we have heightened our utilization of cooperative learning methodologies and integrated restorative practices into our pedagogical approach. Cooperative learning stands as a catalyst for heightened academic achievement, improved interpersonal relationships, bolstered self-esteem, a more cohesive classroom ambiance, diminished disciplinary issues, and the cultivation of students' social acumen and moral integrity. Furthermore, restorative practices serve not only to foster a sense of classroom community but also to address academic challenges and interpersonal conflicts. By emphasizing positive connections and support mechanisms, we actively cultivate a conducive and nurturing school climate wherein the restoration of trust and the resolution of conflicts perpetuate a culture of unity and belonging among students and faculty alike.

As we anticipate the forthcoming solar eclipse on April 8, we are delighted to facilitate an enriching educational experience for our students. The distribution of solar eclipse glasses, accompanied by informational materials courtesy of our high school science department, exemplifies our dedication to hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that ignite curiosity and inspire lifelong learning.

In conclusion, the Office of Curriculum and Instruction remains steadfast in our pursuit of educational excellence, guided by a shared commitment to student success and holistic development. As we reflect on our achievements and look ahead to future endeavors, we are proud to serve the East Aurora community and remain resolute in our mission to empower every student to realize their full potential.