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 2019-2020 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 and learning experiences. Participants reviewed and revised the 1st– 5th grade social studies curriculum maps to incorporate more inquiry and to insure alignment to the most recent research and current state standards. Third through fifth grade teachers also planned the implementation of new social studies materials to support the revised curriculum. Teachers updated curriculum in the areas of World Language, English Language Arts, math, science, and physical education in order to make sure that all content areas are aligned to state standards and reflect best instructional practice. In addition, select teaching staff and administrators continued to plan for the use of ongoing, collaborative planning time.
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, mathematics, and science. The tests measure a student’s progress or growth in school. Scores depend on two things: the difficulty of each question and how many questions are answered correctly.
The District ELA Committee continues to refine our English Language Arts curriculum, which will be delivered during Literacy Studio, an integrated and individualized approach to reading and writing instruction. During reading instruction teachers will be using a variety of materials, including Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Readingand mentor texts that align with comprehension strategies. They will also 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 practice in the teaching of writing. 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.
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 programs that support social and emotional learning. Second Step, a universal classroom-based program designed to increase students’ school success, decrease program behaviors, and promote social-emotional competence and self-regulation, will be used at the elementary level. At the middle school level, students will participate in a comprehensive standards-aligned program that addresses the specific needs of the middle school population. Both programs 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!
Dr. Melissa E. Hirsch