Leadership refers to the role or process that enables systems and individuals to achieve their goals. Curriculum refers to all the experiences that learners have to go through in a program of education. Curriculum leadership therefore is the act of exercising functions that enables the achievement of a school's goal of providing quality education.
The definition of curriculum leadership involves functions and goals. A curriculum leader has to take charge of making sure that the curriculum goals are achieved. That ultimate goal is to maximize student learning by providing quality in the content of learning. Curriculum leadership focuses on what is learned (the curriculum) and how it is taught (the instruction).
Being a school head, the principal is responsible for making sure that the school has a quality curriculum and that the curriculum is implemented effectively. Achieving educational excellence is the goal. To attain such goal, the principal need to manifest curriculum leadership.
The Roles and Functions of a Curriculum Leader
Glatthorn (1997) was an educator interested in how curriculum development could be used to make teaching effective. He provides the list of the essential functions of curriculum leadership carried out at the school and classroom levels:
Curriculum leadership functions at the school-level:
a. develop the school's vision of a quality curriculum
b. supplement the state's or district's educational goals
c. develop the school's own program of studies
d. develop a learning-centered schedule
e. determine the nature and extent of curriculum integration
f. align the curriculum
g. monitor and assist in curriculum implementation
Curriculum leadership functions at the classroom-level:
a. develop yearly planning calendars for operationalizing the curriculum
b. develop units of study
c. enrich the curriculum and remediate learning
d. evaluate the curriculum
The roles and functions show that regardless of whether these are at the school level or classroom level, curriculum leadership involves tasks that guarantee quality education. The tasks and functions may further be specified into four major tasks:
a. ensuring curriculum quality and applicability
b. integrating and aligning the curriculum
c. implementing the curriculum efficiently
d. regularly evaluating, enriching, and updating the curriculum
Exhibiting curriculum leadership means that the principal have to be vigilant in overseeing the many instructional activities in one's school so that educational goals will be achieved. This implies that curriculum leadership is also a component of instructional leadership.
(Activity: Given the four major tasks of curriculum leadership, write some specific ways in which these tasks can be manifested).
Source: Module: Lead Curriculum Implementation and Enrichment. EXCELS Flexible Course on Leading Curricular and Instructional Processes. SEAMEO INNOTECH, C 2005.