Department Focus: Curriculum and Assessment

Department Focus

The Curriculum and Assessment unit of Oakland Schools’ District and School Services department contains 14 consultants dedicated solely to the learning and achieving aspect of education.

“We really try to address the what of learning, as in what should students be learning and how do we know they are learning it? That is the sweet spot we are trying to get with this unit,” said Supervisor Steven Snead.

One aspect of the department, assessment, looks at how students are learning the materials presented to them. According to Snead, his department offers consultation and professional learning surrounding these assessments to Oakland Schools’ 28 districts.

“We want to support educator use of assessment in the classroom so teachers can know and identify student strengths and learning needs and customize support to help students meet those needs,” he explained.

Snead said as far as the curriculum aspect of the unit goes, Oakland Schools provides a free model of core curriculum available to the 28 districts which allows them to have a base for establishing their own local program. Curriculum is offered in all areas of study including English Language Learners, math and science.

“We write curriculum and upload it and the districts can draw from it and tweak and modify to suit their needs,” said Snead.

Snead explained assessment and curriculum go hand in hand because the state defines the standards by which students learn and achieve and the curriculum is the means students use to meet those standards. However, it was just last year these areas were officially merged together at Oakland Schools.

“We are still kind of growing and supporting each other in the work and finding the ways we can collaborate,” he said of last year’s reorganization. “Now the intention is to have that collaboration and a truly integrated service model.”

“We are now looking at not just the what, but the how?” Snead added. “At the end of the day, that is what we are all about: improving and supporting student learning.”

To learn more about Curriculum and Assessment, visit

Sarah Cormier is the communications specialist with Oakland Schools Communications Services Department. You can reach her at

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