HSDB curriculum follows Hawaii’s Common Core Standards. The standards define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college and careers when they graduate. They align with college and workforce expectations, are clear and consistent, include rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order skills, are evidence-based, and are informed by standards in top-performing countries. Standards define what students should understand and be able to do at each grade level. Schools and teachers choose curriculum, and choose how standards are taught in the classroom.
While teachers use a consistent set of materials as a primary resource, they are still expected to be innovative and creative to address their students’ learning needs. For example, our elementary-age students use Wonders and Stepping Stones for its reading and math core curriculum respectively. Teachers then supplement these programs with materials best suited to their students’ needs.
For science, HSDB follows Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS provides a framework for three-dimensional science teaching and learning in grades K-12 and sets expectations for what students should be able to know and do in science. The NGSS were adopted by the Board of Education in February 2016 and will be fully implemented by 2019–20 school year. Currently, HSDB is using STEMScopes as its core curriculum in science.
The Hawaii State Assessments are used to measure student and school progress in the attainment of the Hawaii content standards in math, English Language Arts, and science. The Smarter Balanced assessments in Math and English Language Arts (ELA), which was first implemented in 2014-15, are aligned to the new Hawaii Common Core Standards. These state assessments are not normed for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, so HSDB adds other assessments that are more appropriate for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. These additional assessments will show more progress than the state tests and will aid in our planning for the students’ individualized education plans.