Curriculum and Instruction » Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum and Instruction

Director of Curriculum & Instruction:

Katrina Turbyfill

SWAIN CORE K-12 Curriculum Maps


SWAIN CORE Overview and History

During the 2014-2015 school year, Swain County Schools began the process of having all teachers participate in writing a guaranteed district-wide curriculum. District curriculum leaders recognized the value of having a shared vision for curriculum and instruction in order to improve the learning experiences of our students. Further, district leadership believed that teachers are the best front line developers of the curriculum. Superintendent Sam Pattillo coined the term “SWAIN CORE” for our guaranteed district-wide curriculum.


Our Vision: To create the guaranteed, viable SWAIN CORE curriculum which

  • Aligns with state standards
  • Identifies prioritized “big idea” concepts from state standards
  • Frames units around enduring understandings and essential questions of “big idea” concepts
  • Utilizes a variety of acceptable evidences of understanding
  • Plans learning experiences that best promote the intended learning outcomes
  • Embeds instructional best practices


The SWAIN CORE curriculum is

  • Guaranteed because all teachers of the grade level and/or subject area will utilize the collaboratively-developed documents to plan instruction for their classrooms, ensuring that all Swain County students in that grade level have access to the agreed upon core curriculum for their grade level/subject area
  • Viable because the curriculum development process is on-going, reflective, and continuously revised as needed

The result of the curriculum planning process is a written product which

  • Serves as a Curriculum Guide/Textbook for the grade level/subject area
  • Is shared in a digital format with other teachers, with parents, and with students
  • Includes links to instructional resources for teachers


The curriculum development process for SWAIN CORE is based on the principles outlined by Wiggins and McTighe in their works related to “Understanding by Design.”


Frequently Asked Questions

What is “Understanding by Design”?