New elementary reading curricula implemented
Clover Park School District (CPSD) implemented two new reading curricula for the 2017-18 school year for elementary- and preschool-aged students. One of the curricula will be used in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, while the other is aimed at special education preschoolers.
Each school year, CPSD updates one content area.
Selecting a new curriculum begins by reviewing Washington State’s Learning Standards, which serve as a roadmap to preparing students to be career and college-ready after high school. CPSD staff also examine what students’ needs are in the various content areas, and then gather input from parents and teachers.
“We have a process for selecting new curricula that is aligned with what Washington state recommends,” said CPSD supervisor of English language arts and social studies Erin Vidal. “We evaluate for standards and bias and narrow down materials to figure out which ones we’ll pilot in the district to get feedback on implementation from students, parents and teachers.”
The process resulted in choosing the Reach for Reading curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade students and Pearson’s Opening the World of Learning curriculum for preschool special education students.
Cengage, the publisher of CPSD’s new reading curricula, collaborated with National Geographic to include high-interest, non-fiction content along with fictional stories and a digital component to enhance learning for students at all skill levels. Newer state standards encourage greater interaction with the kinds of non-fiction reading students will be exposed to in college and in their post-education careers.
“We’ve seen a decrease in narratives and an increase in non-fiction texts,” Vidal said. “That meansthat there is science and social studies content embedded in the new reading curriculum.”
Each student will have their own book and can access leveled library books in each classroom that complement the stories in their book.
The curriculum also features a technological component. Students have access to a digital platform that allows them to see their text books, play literacy games and take assessments from home. Teachers can use features aligned with the current classroom technology, such as smart boards, to engage students.
Another unique factor of the new curricula is diversity.
“We talk about the diversity within our schools and the importance of embracing and learning about it in our communities,” Vidal said. “That diversity is represented in the new curricula. Students can open their books and see people who look like them.”
Parents and community members can serve on the adoption committee and view the final proposed materials at a community showcase before they are adopted by the school board.