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Accelerated Adoption of Centralized Instructional Materials Through Curriculum Blueprints

Curating targeted resources aligned to priority standards for remote learning


When district leaders at Austin ISD (AISD) learned they would be starting the 2020-2021 school year remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they realized that they would need to be able to offer teachers a centralized curriculum option to support lesson planning and delivery – something they had not done before.

Given the pace of change and level of need, the central office academics team collapsed existing subject- and domain-specific coaching teams into one integrated team, working together to develop grade-level "blueprints" in each subject area. These blueprints worked off Texas Education Agency's Yearly Planning Guide, which identifies prioritized Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) at the state level.

"We put curriculum coaches on teams organized by grade band and they worked together. They were no longer coaching/developing curriculum in silos. That was very powerful because...we finally formally integrated what we valued as a district rather than just hoping it would happen. Now it's a much tighter resource and because of that it's a more user-friendly curriculum. It's my hope that we can iterate and strengthen this process with cycles of revision. If we accomplish this, it will promote buy-in to the curriculum we're building... it's a very recursive cycle based upon the feedback of our end users." - Suzanne Newell, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Austin Independent School District


To begin developing curriculum blueprints, Austin clarified coaches’ roles and brought the newly integrated team together to collaborate in virtual meetings. The initial “pilot” blueprints were not built as time-based units and/or lesson plans; instead, the academics team offered targeted, district-vetted resources aligned to the priority standards. District leaders encouraged teachers to see the blueprints as just one piece of teacher instructional decision-making, encouraging them to apply their own expertise and understanding of their students' needs to use the new materials remotely.

In addition, because curriculum planning teams were integrated, materials and supports that were previously treated separately (e.g., social-emotional learning and cultural proficiency) were also offered in a more integrated way. This move, supported by the decision to use one centralized learning management system (Blend, AISD's version of Canvas), significantly accelerated the adoption of materials. Based on surveys of teachers, by the end of the 2019-2020 school year, over 85% of teachers reported using the blueprint materials daily. Finally, the use of common materials made teacher planning and learning across school sites easier through virtual professional learning communities.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.

Strategy Resources

Rolling Out Centrally Developed Curricular Blueprints To Support Remote Learning

Dr. Suzanne Newell, Director of Academics at Austin Independent School District, shares how the district... Learn More

Curriculum Blueprint Stakeholder Surveys

Following the rollout of curriculum blueprints for remote instruction, Austin ISD’s academic team sought feedback... Learn More

“Blue Crew” Curriculum Blueprint Teams

To create curriculum blueprints for teachers to use for their remote instruction during the pandemic... Learn More