There are numerous curricula that are taught and experienced daily in our schools.
And, I'm not referring to the ones just taught in our classrooms.
The idea of a secondary (and tertiary, and so on) curriculum isn't new, and it represents the myriad of other learnings and experiences students come to us with and experience within our care. Some of these curricula provide for wonderful community-building opportunities (i.e. the teacher who engages in sports and/or recess activities outside with students, or the principal who eats lunch with a random lunch table ever Monday) while others expose learners to places and spaces they never thought they could learn from (i.e. an outdoor learning walk where students observe, listen, and reflect).
Still other curricula provide more challenge, and sometimes we are attempting to un-teach what has already been taught. The student who comes from a family with a history of abuse and neglect, or the group of students who transferred schools to avoid gang repercussions all carry experiences that we did not expose them to, but that we must work with them to address. These negative influences, are curricula, nonetheless.
Whether this secondary curriculum brings heart or heartache, as educators we must acknowledge its existence and work to make sure that all tiers of curriculum are addressed and learned from. The leader who recognizes that more than one form of curriculum exists in her district is the leader who is best prepared for the unexpected.
While our high-stakes culture often puts the emphasis on classroom curriculum as the roadmap to success, life itself seems to rest on the infusion of all curricula present to truly help learners (and leaders for that matter) reach the height of their abilities.