May 23, 2018
The EdReports Blog
At EdReports, we’re passionate about working with and learning from districts to capture best practices for making curriculum adoption decisions. We work with districts large and small, urban and rural, all with dedicated individuals striving to ensure students thrive.
We know that great teachers and great materials lead to lasting success for all students. As part of our efforts to empower districts to choose the best curriculum for their school communities, we created the three resources below to support the adoption process. We invite you to read and share them. Let's keep learning together!
It might surprise you to learn that one of the biggest challenges for districts comes at the very beginning of the adoption process. Once a decision to select new materials is made, it’s very tempting to immediately order samples and start making judgements about the programs and lessons in front of you. We’ve found that once you open the books (or digital books), it’s very difficult to go back and apply alignment or local criteria. People will have naturally started to love or dismiss materials.
A successful practice we’ve seen is to first capture and analyze information about the district, set goals, start to engage your stakeholders, and only then start digging into materials. Our Knowing Your Starting Point Data Inventory is a sampling of questions that are important for districts to know the answers to before starting the adoption process.
We know every district is different and has unique needs depending on factors like the student population, teacher force, and other important considerations. We believe that instructional materials need to address local criteria and speak to students in their local context. In our experience, districts that have seen success with their adoption choices apply local criteria as well, but only after they’ve winnowed their choices by standards-alignment. This way, districts are ensuring that the base material that their teachers will use supports the content and skills students need to graduate college and career ready.
The reviews at EdReports.org allow you to gather evidence about ELA and math programs and how well they align to the standards and instructional shifts. Then, when you begin to apply local priorities such as the quality of English language learner supports, technology integration, and culturally relevant lessons, you can be certain that whatever program you choose is both high quality and meeting the needs of your community.
Learn from the best practices of other districts like Newport-Mesa Unified School District. NMUSD recently conducted an alignment-focused, teacher-led materials adoption process while prioritizing local needs.
Selecting your instructional materials is a big decision, but the process doesn’t stop there. A clear rollout and implementation plan for those materials, including professional learning for school leaders and teachers, is key to the ultimate success of how these materials are used in classrooms.
It’s important to remember that even if you select high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum, materials don't come off the shelf perfectly matched to meet all students' needs. The following math and ELA guides help you to analyze what adjustments you may need to consider in order to ensure that the curriculum fully supports teacher instruction and student learning.
Interested in learning more about how to reach all students by building strong connections among curriculum, high-quality instructional materials, and standards-based professional learning? Sign up for the 2018 Summer Institutes presented by Learning Forward and EdReports.org.