Academic Program Planning Process

The  Niskayuna Central School District has an integrated process that is used to ensure the district is continually updating its academic programs in a coordinated manner. 

Two committees form the centerpiece of this effort: The Instructional Program Advisory Council, or IPAC, which will be charged with developing a Profile of the Niskayuna Graduate, and the District Curriculum and Accessory Council, or DCAC, which will be charged with guiding instructional decisions through working with new and existing committees and program review teams. 

The impetus for the overall approach is to be sure that as teachers, instructional leaders, and others are asked to serve on various committees, it’s clear that their efforts are part of a larger, strategic picture. 

We want to make sure that our program is preparing students for the future and that support, resources and training are aligned to this program.  These structures and processes help ensure that changes are made in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.

The Instructional Program Advisory Council (IPAC)

The Instructional Program Advisory Council is charged with developing a broad vision for the future of school programs based on the skills, attributes and experiences that Niskayuna graduates will need for success in life and the modern economy. IPAC’s work will help identify opportunities, engage the community, and guide decisions in areas such as program needs and priorities, school facilities, and partnerships.

Membership includes: the superintendent of schools, assistant superintendent for instruction, and representatives from the administration, faculty, Board of Education, community, student body, business and industry, and higher education.

District Curriculum and Assessment Council (DCAC)

The District Curriculum and Assessment Council is charged with monitoring, assessing, and ultimately guiding program, instructional, and assessment decisions across the district. The Instructional Program Advisory Council, regular program reviews and committee work will inform the DCAC.

Membership includes: the assistant superintendent for instruction, directors, three principals (one from each level), and K-12 faculty.

Instructional Program Review Teams

Instructional Program Review Teams will be formed in alignment with the program review cycle established by the DCAC. Each review will focus on current curriculum, resources, assessments and data, and future priorities. Recommendations for curriculum development, growth of program, or change of resources will be made to the DCAC following each review.

When a department is in an active stage of the program review cycle, the director will lead a Program Review Team comprised of K-12 faculty from the department.

Professional Development Committee

The Professional Development Committee will develop the district Professional Development Plan each year based on an annual faculty and staff survey, strategic goals, and priorities identified through program reviews. The plan will be presented to the Board of Education for approval each summer.

Membership includes: the assistant superintendent for instruction, two DCAC members, and K-12 faculty.

Technology Committee

The Technology Committee will inform and support a vision for the effective use of technology in Niskayuna classrooms including, but not limited to, assessing best practices and emerging uses in the field, identifying hardware priorities, and addressing targeted technology issues and needs.

Membership includes: the assistant superintendent for instruction, principals, district directors and K-12 faculty, and members of the Technology Services department.

Conference Advisory Committee

The Conference Advisory Committee helps create opportunities for faculty to attend professional conferences based on requests, goals, and identify needs.

Membership includes: the assistant superintendent for instruction, K-12 faculty members, two directors and a principal.

Curriculum Design Teams

Design teams at all levels are guiding the creation of a common curriculum, with vertical and horizontal alignment, that provides for engaging and relevant learning experiences. Plans for program growth and development identified through the Program Review process will inform the plan for ongoing curriculum design.

Curriculum design teams include: K-12 academic directors and faculty members from across the district. The specific makeup of the design team depends upon the grade level, subject area and scope of the work.