Curriculum Program Review

The Program Review Process (PRP) provides the Melrose Public Schools a process for the systematic ongoing evaluation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment across all content areas.

  • In 2013-2014, social studies began the Program Review Process with a final report and action plan completed by June 2015.
  • In 2014-2015, the global language department began the two year process and completed it by June 2016.
  • In 2015-2016, the English language arts began the two year process to be completed by June 2017.
  • In 2016-2017, the Program Review Process of the mathematics curriculum began.

Social Studies Curriculum Review 

Final MPS Social Studies Program Review 2014-15

Global Language Program Review


ELA Program Arts


Program Review Process

The process is characterized by a systematic evaluation protocol consisting of the following components:

  • Self Study

During this phase the Assistant Superintendent leads the Program Review Team as they coordinate the work. The key work in this phase consists of three stages: 1.) developing essential questions to focus the self study; 2.) documenting the district’s curriculum and instructional resources in preparation for evaluation; 3.) conducting the self study

  • Action Planning

This phase is the district’s response to the Program Review Team’s report and recommendations. The action plan sets the agenda for program development and curriculum updates/changes, identifies professional development needs, and is used in the budgeting process to allocate resources.

  • Program and Professional Development and Implementation

This phase is the implementation of updates and/or changes based on the report’s recommendations. During this phrase professional development is provided and recommended resources are reviewed, piloted, and purchased.   The effectiveness of any updates and/or changes are monitored through teacher observation, student achievement, and staff self-reflection and collaboration.

Each of these phases is described in further detail later in this document.

The PRP is the key responsibility of the Assistant Superintendent, administrators in their role as instructional leaders, department chairs, and other facilitators and coordinators with program responsibilities. However, the success of this process requires participation by the faculty.


The PRP is an extremely important process for the development of curriculum and the instructional program. It requires significant resources, must be supported by the administration, and must remain one of the high priority goals for administrators and instructional leaders in diverse positions.

Resources that will be allocated to the PRP process include:

  • Substitute teachers so that the documentation team can schedule full working days during the school year.
  • Access to appropriate technology and technology support.
  • Financial resources in the form of curriculum development stipends (summer and special projects), research and resource materials and support for pilot projects.


Program review is an inclusive process. Within the district, a Program Review Team for each content area K-12 will facilitate the PRP.

The Program Review Team coordinates and organizes the Program Review under the direction of the Assistant Superintendent/Director of Curriculum. Members of the Program Review Team may include:

  • Assistant Superintendent
  • Department Chairs
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Elementary Principal
  • Middle School Principal or Assistant Principal
  • High School Principal or Assistant Principal
  • General Education Teachers k-12
  • Specialists
  • Special Education and English as a Second Language Teachers

Additionally, the Program Review Team is responsible for:

  • Developing Essential Questions for the study
  • Presenting the Program Review Team’s report to the School Committee, School Councils, Faculty and Community
  • Developing the Action Plan in response to the report
  • Proposing changes and/or updates for presentation in the budget development process
  • Reviewing the progress of work on the Action Plan on an annual basis

SELF-STUDY (Time Frame: 18 months)

This phase of the process involves an in-depth review of the existing program and begins actual program evaluation. During this period, the Program Review Team, under the direction of the Assistant Superintendent/Director of Curriculum, review and document the course of study at each grade level. In addition, they must also interpret assessment data from MCAS and other standardized tests, district determined measures, and draft essential questions to be answered by the review.   The team should also survey students, parents, and staff regarding their experience with curriculum and instruction.

The following will be reviewed by the Administrative Team:

  • Essential Questions
  • Self-study plan and timeline
  • Questionnaires, surveys, etc.

Development of Essential Questions

These essential questions should serve as a guide for program evaluation. Members of the Program Review Team should formulate these questions during the first month. Some common questions may be framed around the following topics:

  • Alignment with the state or national frameworks
  • Validation of written curriculum
  • Range of student work
  • Current instructional practices
  • Program rigor and currency
  • Provision for meeting the needs of all learners
  • Assessment components
  • Student performance

(Note: Each set of guiding questions should also include this question: How well is the program being evaluated promoting/meeting the School wide Expectations and the District Mission?)

Creation or Revision of a K-12 Program Review Document

Components include Program Overview, Statement of Philosophy, Scope and Sequence and specific grade level units of study using a common template format. Time allocated for this work is approximately 14 months. The Program Review Team may complete the work in a variety of settings such as grade level meetings, staff meetings, release time and summer professional development time.

Teacher Validation of the K-12 Curriculum

Under the direction of the Program Review Team, teachers review and evaluate curriculum documents and validate them as being representative of what in fact, they do teach. This process should be ongoing and completed between the 12th and 18th month.

Collection and Organization of Other Important Information

The information may be gathered from the Office of the Director of Curriculum. The designated time frame is month 14 to month 18.

  • Assessment Data:       District and departmental evaluations (MCAS, Authentic and Performance Assessment data, districted developed measures, etc.)
  • Budget Information/Resources: previous 2 years
  • Staffing Information
  • Professional Development Activity: define and address needs (current/future as well as data regarding the amount of teacher participation.)

Documentation of Framework Alignment K-12

This document should indicate how each level is meeting each of the specific standards prescribed by the Massachusetts State Framework for the particular curriculum area. If the content area does not have a Massachusetts State Framework, the Program Review Team should use national standards from professional organization as a reference. This work should occur between the 12th month and the 18th month.

List of Special Concerns and Strengths

Collect data from various groups of people who have a vested interest in the program: students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members. Note policies and mandates that may influence the program in a significant way. The Program Review Team should participate in this data gathering process during the first three months and again at the 14th-18th month. Tools for data gathering may include random surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, forums, etc.

Collection of Student Work Samples

Collect a variety of student work samples that represent a range of achievement levels.

ACTION PLANNING: Time Frame: 5 months (24th – 27th months forward)

This phase of the Program Review Process begins once the Program Review Team’s report has been disseminated throughout the district. The purpose of this phase is to ensure the successful implementation of recommended changes. The responsibilities of this phase are divided among Administrations, staff, and the Program Review Team.

Department and Staff Review of the Report

The Program Review Team disseminates the report to staff for review and feedback.

Design Action Plan

The Administration will take into account the recommendations of the Program Review Team, as well as staff feedback. In collaboration with the Program Review Team, the action plan for the program in review will be developed. This plan will establish short and long range goals for Professional Development and outline proposed changes in the program. Projected budgetary needs will be outlined in this plan as well. If the Program Review Team recommends new or additional materials, then it is during this phase that materials will be piloted and evaluated under the direction of the Curriculum Materials Working Group. The Administration and Program Review Team will continue to monitor and document changes in the curriculum with assistance from staff. Every three years the documented curriculum will be reviewed and revised as necessary. Ongoing K-12 articulation will occur under the direction of the Director of Curriculum with K-12 content Teams

ACTION PLAN IMPLEMENTATION: Time Frame: 9 months (27th – 36th months forward)

At this stage, the district will pilot and evaluate program changes and new materials (as necessary). Curriculum documents will also be reviewed and updated to reflect any necessary changes. Proposed new resources will be included in the budget development, following review by the Curriculum Materials Working Group. As with all curriculums, the administration and staff will continue to articulate K-12 horizontal and vertical alignment. The Administration and the Program Review Team will monitor the implementation and success of the Action Plan.

2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Preparation of Preparation of Preparation of Preparation of Preparation of Preparation of Preparation of
Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation Documentation
Self-Study Self-Study Self-Study Self-Study Self-Study Self-Study Self-Study
Questionnaires Questionnaires Questionnaires Questionnaires Questionnaires Questionnaires Questionnaires
2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-2019 2020-21 2021-22
Action Plan Action Plan Action Plan Action Plan Action Plan Action Plan Action Plan
Implementation Implementation Implementation Implementation Implementation Implementation Implementation