Policy 602.01: Curriculum Development

Original Adopted Date: 03/10/2022 | Last Revised Date: 09/27/2022 | Last Reviewed Date: 09/27/2022

Curriculum development is an ongoing process in the school district and consists of both research and design. Research is the studious inquiry and critical investigation of the various content areas for the purpose of revising and improving curriculum and instruction based on relevant information pertaining to the discipline.  This study is conducted both internally (what and how we are currently doing at the local level) and externally (what national standards, professional organizations, recognized experts, current research, etc. tell us relative to the content area). Design is the deliberate process of planning and selecting the standards and instructional strategies that will improve the learning experiences for all students. The board delegates the curriculum development process to the Superintendent, who will make curriculum development recommendations and submit them to the board for final approval.

A systematic approach to curriculum development (careful research, design, and articulation of the curriculum) serves several purposes: 

  • Focuses attention on the content standards of each discipline and ensure the identified learnings are rigorous, challenging, and represent the most important learning for our students.
  • Increases the probability that students will acquire the desired knowledge, skills and dispositions and that our schools will be successful in providing appropriate learning experiences.
  • Facilitates communication and coordination.
  • Improves classroom instruction.

The superintendent is responsible for the curriculum development process and for determining the most effective method of conducting research and design activities.  A curriculum framework will describe the processes and procedures that will be followed in researching, designing, and articulating each curriculum area.  This framework will at a minimum, describe the processes and procedures for the following curriculum development activities to: 

  • Study the latest thinking, trends research and expert advice regarding the content/discipline;
  • Study the current status of the content/discipline (what and how well students are currently learning);
  • Identify content standards, benchmarks, and grade level expectations for the content/discipline;
  • Describe the desired learning behaviors, teaching and learning environment related to the content/discipline;
  • Identify differences in the desired and present program and develop a plan for addressing the differences;
  • Communicate with internal and external publics regarding the content area;
  • Involve staff, parents, students, and community members in curriculum development decisions;
  • Verify how the standards and benchmarks of the content/discipline support each of the broader student learning goals and provide a K-12 continuum that builds on the prior learning of each level:
  • Ensure proposed curriculum complies with applicable laws;
  • Align annual improvement goals with needs assessment information.

It is the responsibility of the superintendent to keep the board apprised of necessary curriculum revisions, progress or each content area related to curriculum development activities, and to develop administrative regulations for curriculum development including recommendations to the board.

NOTE:  This is a mandatory policy but the content is discretionary to the extent somewhere in the board policy the board describes its process for establishing content standards, benchmarks, performance levels, and annual improvement goals aligned with needs assessment information.  The bulleted items are suggestions for content of this policy.  The italicized items are not mandatory functions but are implied from the mandates.  Boards, in conjunction with their administrators, should review their curriculum development process and incorporate it into this policy – striking what doesn’t apply and adding what does.  


Legal Reference: 20 U.S.C. § 1232h.
34 C.F.R. Pt. 98.
Iowa Code §§ 216.9; 256.7, 279.8; .74; 280.3.
281 I.A.C. 12.5, .8.


I.C. Iowa Code Description
Iowa Code  § 216.9 Unfair/Discriminatory Practices
Iowa Code  § 256.7 DE – Duties of State Board
Iowa Code  § 279.8 Directors – General Rules – Bonds of Employees
Iowa Code  § 280.3 Education Program – Attendance Center Requirements
Iowa Code 279.74 Powers and Duties – Specific Defined Concepts
I.A.C. Iowa Administrative Code Description
281 I.A.C. 12.5 General Accreditation Standards – Education Program
281 I.A.C. 12.8 General Accreditation Standards – Student Achievement
U.S.C. – United States Code Description
20 U.S.C. § 1232h Education – Protection of Pupil Rights
C.F.R. – Code of Federal Regulations Description
34 C.F.R. Pt. 98 Education – Research, Experimental Programs, Testing – Student Rights

Cross References

Code Description
101 Educational Philosophy of the School District
103 Long-Range Needs Assessment
103-R(1) Long-Range Needs Assessment – Regulation
604.10 Online Courses
906 Unmanned Aircraft/Drones