Students using laptops

Curriculum in District 30

From the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

I am excited to welcome you and your children back to the start of the 2018-19 school year! It was a busy summer.  District 30 teachers and administrators actively participated in a variety of projects to review and enhance District curriculum. Teachers reviewed the 3rd-5th grade social studies curriculum to incorporate more inquiry and to insure alignment to the most recent research and current state standards. They updated the World Language program, our Social Emotional Learning program, and the Math and Science curricula K-5.   In addition, teachers met with the technology team to add a virtual reality component to the Next Generation Science Standards, and a group of teachers and administrators explored instructional options connected to our NWEA testing. I am pleased to share with you some of the work that we will be doing this year.

At the start of this school year, students in grades second through eighth will again be participating in the NWEA MAP assessment.  Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) is a series of tests that measure a student’s general knowledge in reading, language use, and mathematics.  The tests measure a student’s progress or growth in school.  Scores depend on two things:  how many questions are answered correctly and the difficulty of each question.

We continue to refine our English/Language Arts curriculum.  This school year all kindergarten through fifth grade students will be using Words Their Way, a developmental approach to teaching phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills using hands on methods.  Weekly word sorts will provide opportunities for students to look for word patterns and develop depth and breadth of word knowledge.  Traditional spelling tests are not used as children work at their own pace through the stages of word study and spelling.  All kindergarten through fifth grade students will continue to participate in Literacy Studio, an integrated and individualized approach to reading and writing instruction. Students and staff will be using the “Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing” materials.  These grade level specific units have been written to emphasize the Common Core standards writing requirements and continue to be based on best practices in the teaching of writing. They will also be using “Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Reading” and a variety of mentor texts as a resource during reading instruction.

District 30 students will continue to use Math in Focus (K-5) and Big Ideas (middle school), which are comprehensive math programs that support the Common Core Mathematics Standards.  These programs demand rigor in the teaching of math.  Notable shifts from past programs include a focus on studying fewer topics in more depth, a focus on mastery rather than a spiral approach to curriculum, and the use of  “models to representations to abstractions” as an instructional approach.

Finally, all District 30 students will continue to participate in Second Step, a universal classroom-based program designed to increase students’ school success, decrease problem behaviors, and promote social-emotional competence and self-regulation.  Aligned to the Illinois Social Emotional Learning Standards, the Second Step program will impart the foundation students need to become skilled decision makers and to exhibit responsible behavior in personal, school, and community contexts.

I am looking forward to a wonderful year! Please do not hesitate to contact me should you ever have any questions.  I look forward to seeing you around the school district!

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Melissa E. Hirsch