What We Do

The Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Department works with teams of educators to make district recommendations about selecting high-quality instructional materials and follows up with embedded professional development to implement these resources successfully. A team of coaches supports teachers in building their content knowledge and choosing the best instructional models for each subject area. This department also manages the district assessment landscape, using high-level data to check the health of Salem’s curriculum and teaching practices. The ultimate goal is to develop independent, capable learners who are ready for college and career pathways. Committed to anti-racist practices, the department strives to provide all students with access to grade-level curriculum and advanced coursework through the skillful use of accessibility strategies.

Meet Our Students

Salem’s enrollment is approximately 3,600 students. The population is culturally and linguistically diverse.  Students’ varied backgrounds and life experiences add richness to learning activities, interactions with peers and teachers, and the unique identity of each school.

Instructional Models & Priorities

Instructional Models

District instructional models focus on developing student independence, minimizing teacher talk, and allowing student voice and choice. This graphic shows a sample social studies model and the approximate time allocation.  Models are fairly consistent across content areas. Additional instructional models can be found here.

Instructional Priorities

Salem educators use a set of Instructional Priorities to norm around “warm demander” classroom expectations for teachers. These are:

  1. Create a welcoming environment where all students feel included, respected, and part of a learning community.
  2. Provide opportunities for meaningful interactions between students, so they have time to process new learning, build on each other’s understandings, develop discussion skills, and practice new vocabulary.
  3. Use comprehensible input to provide transparent directions, expectations, and new information.  This means layering in accessibility strategies such as building background knowledge before the lesson, pre-teaching vocabulary, adding visuals, and frequent checks for comprehension. 
  4. Hold high expectations for all students so that they develop into independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning and build the required perseverance to complete challenging tasks. 

Lesson Components

Lessons may occur within one day or across several days.  They include some combination of these elements:

In addition, teachers should ensure that grade-level curriculum is presented in a way that is accessible to all learners.

High Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM)

The district has purchased high-quality instructional materials, which are required core curriculum resources.  Teachers are expected to implement these materials with integrity.  
A list of the district’s core curriculum resources can be found here: District Curriculum Resources

Other Resources

  • Atlas
    • Atlas houses the district’s online curriculum maps, which outline agreed-upon minimum content/skills for each unit. Access Atlas here.
  • Coaches
    • In each building support teachers in navigating the curriculum, instruction, assessment, and data analysis.
  • District Accommodation Plan
    • The DCAP guides school leaders and teachers in ensuring that all possible efforts are made to meet student needs in general education classrooms, including accommodations and instructional supports.
  • Digital Instructional Learning Landing Pad

Student Engagement and Belonging

Teachers make a conscious effort to build relevance into their instruction.  This hooks students into new ideas and encourages them to become independent and motivated learners.  There are many avenues to increasing student engagement.

Real-World Connections

Demonstrate the value of subjects in a wider life context by connecting student interests to real world experience.  This creates active learners who see the classroom as a place they want to be.  Real-world connections include:

Windows and Mirrors

The world looks different depending on who and where you are. Students need to practice understanding multiple points of view.  The study of texts that reflect their own identities, experiences, and motivations (mirrors) and also provide insight into the identities, experiences, and motivations of others (windows) can move students toward more nuanced perceptions of the world around them.
– Adapted from “Teaching Tolerance”

  • Texts and visuals that reflect different cultures
  • Texts that depict the accomplishments and struggles of people in other times and places
  • Text selection through the lens of relevance and diversity

The content on this page is managed by Executive Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent, Jensen Frost. Please reach out to her with any questions or concerns via email: jfrost@salemk12.org