A curriculum leader must be prepared to lead in all subjects, across all levels. Most people take a lifetime to become an expert in a single field, but to have true credibility in your vision for curriculum implementation; you must be versed in the content and pedagogy of every expert on your campus. I chose to focus my audit on English Language Arts and specifically writing, wherever possible, because for now, this is where my expertise lies. Someday, I must apply what we have learned in Curriculum Supervision to all secondary subjects, and all levels in order to become an authentic leader. Many see administrators as mere managers and bureaucrats, but an administrator’s role in shaping, promoting, and aligning the curricula is nothing short of the development of multiple areas of proficiency and vision. Before I begin, I would like to note that this is quite an interesting year for a curriculum audit. Schools in Los Angeles are now required to be fully implemented from the older state content standards to the new national Common Core standards. With so many questions still unanswered about what the Common Core is, the misalignment of the curricula is likely greater than ever before.
Description of School Environment
Our school, Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets, is one of the largest in LAUSD (Los Angeles unified school district). Westchester is located on the extreme west side of LAUSD’s jurisdiction, just blocks from the beach and in the shadow of the planes from Los Angeles. We offer a fairly traditional A-G curriculum, but one, which emphasizes science in three magnet themes: Health and Sports Medicine, Aviation and Aerospace, and Environmental Science. Enrollment, as reported in our School Report Card, is 1314 across all three magnets. Our demographics are as follows, and are quite unique for the district, even the state: African American – 74%; Latino – 15%; White – 7%; All other groups – 3%. We have 14% gifted and talented, and 9% are students with disabilities. Finally, 44% of our students are economically disadvantaged. The demographics of the school are diametrically opposed to the community demographics, within 3 or 4 miles of the school where Whites make up 64%, Latinos make up 18%, and African Americans make up only 14%. The average income in Westchester is $135, 026 – a very affluent neighborhood, with the exception of the college students who attend Loyola Marymount University.
Westchester is unique compared to many LAUSD magnets in that they offer several special programs – Linked Learning, 4 years of Science in three science magnets, several alternative languages: Spanish, Italian, Japanese, American Sign Language. But, in addition to unique programs, they are able to offer what a large high school program can: a diverse and competitive sports program, a variety of ROP choices, remediation classes, a variety of AP classes, and a robust Special Education program. The way this is achieved is that...