Curriculum in District 30
An Update from the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
The start of the school year, even in extraordinary circumstances, continues to be one of the most exciting times for administrators, staff, and students!! As we begin the 2021-22 school year and return to some of our pre-pandemic protocols, our first priority is the health and safety of students and staff. In addition, we look forward to continuing our comprehensive educational program, meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of all students. The district will continue to provide a rigorous coherent curriculum for all of our students while adhering to all IDPH protocols.
Our English/Language Arts curriculum continues to be delivered during a Literacy Studio structure, an integrated and individualized approach to reading and writing instruction. During reading instruction, teachers use a variety of materials, including Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Reading and Teaching Phonics, newly adopted Making Meaning materials for grades 1st-5th, and multiple leveled readers and mentor texts that align with comprehension strategies. Other materials utilized include Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Writing an argumentative, narrative, and expository piece, which emphasize the Common Core writing standards and are based on best practices in the teaching of writing. In grades K-2, the district continues to utilize the Words Their Way materials, a developmental approach to teaching phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills. Third through fifth-grade students use Building Vocabulary, an intermediate-level program for spelling and vocabulary. Traditional spelling tests are not utilized as children work at their own pace through the stages of word study and spelling.
District 30 students continue to use Math In Focus (K-5) and the Big Ideas (grades 6-8) curricular resources, which are comprehensive math programs that support the Common Core Mathematics Standards. These programs demand high levels of rigor in the teaching of mathematics. Notable shifts from previous programs include a focus on studying fewer topics in more depth, a focus on mastery rather than a spiraling approach curriculum, and the use of “models to representations to abstractions” as an instructional approach.
Our students continue to participate in the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests, a series of assessments that measure a student’s general knowledge in reading and mathematics. The tests measure a student’s overall growth and progress in school. The assessment also informs the school system regarding instruction. Scores depend on two things: the difficulty of each question and how many questions are answered correctly.
Finally, all District 30 students continue to participate in programs that support social-emotional learning. Second Step, a universal classroom-based program designed to increase students’ school success, decrease behavior challenges, and promote social-emotional competence and self-regulation is used at the elementary level (grades K-5). At the middle school level (grades 6-8), students participate in a comprehensive standards-aligned program, Advisory, that addresses the specific needs of the middle school population. Both programs impart the foundation students need to become skilled decision-makers and to exhibit responsible behavior in personal, school, and community contexts.
As we continue to navigate teaching and learning during these unprecedented times, please do not hesitate to contact me should you ever have any questions or concerns regarding your child(ren) and/or programming. Enjoy the upcoming school year!
Dr. Melissa E. Hirsch