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What is Vertical Teaming?

Vertical curriculum alignment ensures that all students, from their earliest days in a school community, are meaningfully prepared for rigorous learning experiences—in this case, the relevant AP course or courses—in each discipline. Strong vertical curriculum alignment:

  • is a collaborative process between teachers in a subject that begins with the end goal in mind, utilizing the principles of backwards design
  • ensures that all students are working, year over year, towards ever more complex and rigorous material
  • is designed to eliminate gaps in AP and college-and-career readiness for historically underserved students
  • embraces the principles of culturally responsive and sustaining education (CR-SE),NYSED’s Advanced Literacy Framework, and best practices for supporting students with disabilities and students learning English as a new language.

Why is Vertical Teaming Important?

Black and brown students, students with disabilities, and students learning English as a new language have been historically underrepresented and underserved in AP programs.  Vertical curriculum alignment has, at its heart, a belief that all students need meaningful preparation for advanced coursework from day one, so that all students are equipped to succeed in courses; equitable access policies are necessary, but not sufficient, to close gaps in participation and performance for all students.

Please reach out to visit the contact us page to learn more about specialized support on implementing and sustaining vertical alignment practices, including content-specific support.

AP for All Vertical Teaming Support Training Modules

In an effort to continue supporting your school’s vertical teams, AP readiness, and equity; AP for All is proud to offer 3 online modules to support schools in setting up their Vertical Teams. This is an optional professional learning experience to support the work of teachers who facilitate content area vertical teams. Newer teams will appreciate the discussion around protocols, norms, and agendas, while our more advanced teams can benefit from the inclusion of the 5 In – 5 Out strategy for vertical alignment. We are excited about using this platform to establish a virtual community as we work within the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

Join our AP for All Vertical Team group on Microsoft Teams to access the module.

Functioning in a Vertical Team

Functioning in a Vertical Team

What rituals and routines among adults in a school lend themselves well to supporting the work of vertical alignment?

  • Meeting Zero Agenda – sample agenda for your first meeting
  • Tuning Protocol – The general objective is to get feedback from your colleagues about the degree to which the design or document you have offered seems likely to allow the presenter to achieve her/his goals. (from School Reform Initiative)
  • Looking at Student Work: Building in the Habit of Looking at Equity – To focus looking at student work specifically so that it furthers equity for our students, our teachers and our schools, in order to go beyond protocols to the next step which must be specific actions. (from School Reform Initiative)

Organizing and Memorializing the Work of a Vertical Team

As work is completed, how is it organized and memorialized to be shared and improved upon in the future?

Subject specific Tools:

  • English Vertical Alignment Tool
  • Math Unit & Lesson Map