Curriculum in our schools


In the Learning Division at Penn-Harris-Madison, our discussion and work revolves continuously around Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. These three components are essential in helping our students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for them to advance positively and progressively throughout their education.

Curriculum refers to what our student must learn, instruction refers to the strategies we will use to help our students learn, and assessment refers to the ways we will test our students to see if our students have learned it.

While each one of these components is immensely important, all three must work together to ensure that we are helping our students acquire the knowledge and skills that are essential for their academic growth.

For more information about curriculum, instruction, and assessment, please see links below.


The word “curriculum” refers to what children are required to learn in specific  grades and in specific content areas. For example, during the elementary years, there are standards in the curriculum that identify what important knowledge and skills children must develop in order to read at grade level. Each course at the elementary, middle, and high school levels is based upon curriculum and standards outlining what students need to learn in that course. 

For the past several years, all courses in Indiana were based upon the Indiana Academic Standards. In August of 2010, Indiana voted to adopt the Common Core State Standards, which are based on National Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. With this in mind, all schools in Indiana are moving from curriculum that is based on the Indiana Academic Standards to Indiana’s Common Core Standards (INCC). These new standards are also based upon the knowledge and skills that students are expected to learn in all grade levels. The INCC have been designed to be rigorous and relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills our young people will need for success in college and careers.

Currently, Penn-Harris-Madison is aligning the Indiana Academic Standards (which are still currently assessed on the ISTEP+, Algebra I End of Course Assessment, and the English 10 End of Course Assessment) with the Indiana Common Core Standards (INCC). Students are receiving instruction in both the Indiana Standards as well as the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts. In mathematics, both the Indiana Academic Standards and the Indiana Common Core Standards (INCC) are being aligned and phased in over the next two years in all grade levels.

You may access more information about the Indiana Common Core Standards (INCC) at the following website:

Information on Indiana's Common Core Standards


The word “instruction” refers to the ways that we help students learn what is required in specific grades and in specific content areas. We know that children learn in a variety of ways, and it is important to provide students with different avenues to acquire knowledge and skills so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively.

In order to meet our students’ diverse needs at Penn-Harris-Madison, we utilize many different strategies in our RtI (Response to Instruction). Teachers are then able to provide acceleration for students with high abilities as well as extra help for those students requiring additional time and additional help with key concepts.

Parent Road Maps--These curriculum maps will help you understand what your child is learning by grade level.