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7 Simplifications for Curriculum Maps + Pacing Guides

Updated: Jan 18

I began teaching in a small private school with about 35 teachers and 350-390 high school students. We had academic merit scholars, excellent pass rates on AP exams, and each graduating class earned multi-millions in academic scholarships to private and state universities. We were small but mighty in producing scholars, and the school culture was collaborative and collegial.

Administrators believed in hiring great teachers and giving them a lot of autonomy, and all of us felt empowered.

But then our administrators took some courses one summer, and our principal read Understanding by Design (Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe). He announced we needed to submit something called standards-based unit plans and assessments as we planned our instruction. Our small, amicable staff quickly turned into a group of grumbling and frustrated teachers. Arguments ranged from “If we are already doing things well …” to