Curriculum & Instruction


The Curriculum & Instruction Department oversees the teaching and individual support that each District 401 student receives.

Director for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Kimberly Ontiveros leads the department.


Comprehensive Standards


It is District 401's vision to provide all of our students the opportunity to be successful in meeting and surpassing the rigorous expectations of the Illinois State Learning Standards.

These standards are a culmination of the Common Core English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework.

The District believes that improving upon a student's ability to read, write, collaborate and problem solve will allow the student to have a more fruitful experience within the core contents.


An Articulated Curriculum


Our curriculum is designed to ensure that students leave District 401 ready for college success, career fulfillment and a lifetime of continual learning.

To this end, the District has used the opportunity created by our Technology Initiative to build a K-12 curriculum that is articulated across and within subjects, grade levels and schools.

"Articulation" refers to the coordination and logical progression of learning objectives within curricular content areas, from course to course and from grade to grade.

When a curriculum is articulated, staff and administration use the same language and expectations. This allows the District's teachers to collaborate more effectively within — as well as across — schools and grade levels. Students receive a seamless learning experience, regardless of the school they attend or the classroom they are assigned to. 

For example, if a student is enrolled in 5th grade at one of our two elementary schools, the curriculum in that student's classroom will be the same as the one in our other 5th-grade classrooms. The instruction may be differentiated to meet specific needs and strengths, but the fundamental standards, objectives and curriculum materials will be the same.


An Interactive Curriculum 


To put this articulated framework into action, District 401 faculty members use standards-based curriculum materials featuring interactive e-texts. Our e-texts include the following:
 

These digital materials offer multimedia resources to our students, and they are regular updated by their respective publishers.


Instructional Coaching


To assist teachers with the use of these and other curriculum offerings, the District established two instructional coaching positions in 2018: one in math and science, the other in ELA and social studies. A third District-level coaching position — in language — was created in 2020. 

Instructional coaching focuses on what it means to improve as a teacher. Coaches and teachers work together in a partnership model, through embedded support and professional development, to have a profound impact on student learning.

The job of our instructional specialists is to provide support for teachers in the implementation of effective practices to ensure the high academic achievement of all students.


College & Career Pathways


Elmwood Park High School and Elm Middle School now offer courses as part of the District's College & Career Pathways, an initiative focused on better aligning EPHS and Elm curricula with the post-secondary pursuits of our students.

The goal of the College & Career Pathways is to better prepare D401 students to compete and succeed in the global economy.

With the help of aligned programs of study and pathway exploration, students will graduate with well-developed post-secondary plans, stronger experiential learning opportunities and a diverse set of skills suited for academic and career success.

Starting at Elm Middle School, students will be encouraged to explore a variety of interests aligned to future careers.

As students enter EPHS, they will continue with coursework opportunities that focus on college and career pathways of interest with significant depth.

To learn more about the program, please click here.


Continuous Improvement


Our adoption of new curriculum materials and e-texts, our use of instructional coaching, our embrace of digital learning technology and our innovative approaches to college and career pathways are just some of the ways our District strives to best serve our students, their parents and the Elmwood Park community.

We believe in our students and will continue to work to provide them the most positive and meaningful education experience they deserve.


For More Information


To learn more about curriculum and instruction in District 401, we invite you to visit the pages listed in the section below, or click the links located in the left-hand column of this page.