Project OCCAMS (Online Curriculum Consortium for Accelerating Middle School) is a program to develop and implement an accelerated, culturally-responsive, technology-enhanced curriculum with a goal of increasing access for bright underserved students to advanced learning opportunities. Project OCCAMS is a collaboration between Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William & Mary, and Columbus City Schools. The project team has developed and piloted a curriculum that compacts English Language Arts standards for grades 7, 8, and 9 into a two-year course of study taken in grades 7 and 8. The program is currently being piloted in five diverse middle schools in the Columbus City Schools in Ohio. This accelerated pathway allows students to earn a high school credit while in middle school and subsequently be able to take greater advantage of advanced learning options such as Honors, AP, and dual-enrollment coursework that are more widely available in high schools. The program also helps close a gap in services for advanced learners that commonly exist at the middle school level. The online delivery of the curriculum supports flexibility in pacing, increases opportunities for students to practice writing, develops study schools and greater learner autonomy, and enables teachers to spend more time working with individual students and small groups and less time facilitating whole-class instruction. Currently, animated videos designed to introduce key course concepts and tools are in production and will be integrated into the curriculum in the upcoming school year. The consortium also welcomed a new cohort of 83 students to the project as well as an additional teacher to support program growth. This cohort of students participated in baseline assessments this fall to enable the project team to monitor their academic growth through the project and into 10th grade. The project team has also begun to disseminate lessons learned through research and experience during the program to date. Well-received presentations on developing culturally-responsive accelerated curriculum for diverse schools were presented at the ASCD annual conference in Chicago last Winter and at the NAGC Convention in Albuquerque. These sessions have proved useful in connecting with prospective new schools interested in expanding opportunities for bright diverse middle school students.
|Effective start/end date||1/1/20 → 6/30/21|
- Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (Agmt 12/17/19)
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