High Priority Standards: Professional Learning

Following a recent curriculum audit, I am in the beginning stages of curriculum design for K-12 mathematics.  The first step is to guide a team of teacher leaders and instructional coaches in the identification of High Priority Learning Standards, or the Essentials.

These High Priority Learning Standards, or HPLS, are identified based on endurance, leverage, and readiness for the next level.  In addition, we consider college and career readiness, connection to the global competencies, and emphasis identified by TEA’s Student Assessment division.

The HPLS are what grounds our guaranteed curriculum.  These are the big rocks that we guarantee all learners in our district will understand.  These are the most important pieces that narrow our focus for curriculum support of our educators and campus instructional leaders.

These HPLS will ultimately impact the design of our curriculum as they will be the basis of our programmatic assessment – how do we measure the success of our program?  Also, what exemplary content do we provide as a model for our educators? This exemplary content will support the teaching and learning of the HPLS primarily.  For what content do we intervene and measure the progress of our learners?  Certainly this will be focused on our HPLS.  In the case of accelerated instruction and enrichment, the design is rooted in the HPLS.  Also, student goal setting and reflection will be guided by the most important content they will learn, the HPLS.


To guide our campus administrators to recognize the connection of the HPLS with the rest of our curricular system, I designed and facilitated a professional learning experience to model that we must begin with the most important content or pieces of our program (HPLS) before we fill in the remaining details.