Curriculum in District 30
An Update from the Office of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
As we continue to educate students during this extraordinary time, I am happy to report that as of this writing, we have completed 14 weeks of in-person and hybrid learning, an accomplishment that was possible due to the unwavering dedication and cooperation of the Board of Education, administration, teaching staff, parent community, and students. It has been great seeing smiling children in all of our school buildings. As the holidays approach and we move into an “Adaptive Pause”, we will continue to support both academic and social/emotional learning for all of our students and to provide the necessary technology tools and resources to insure the progression of our curricular programs. This will allow for a seamless transition back to in-person and hybrid learning mid-January.
Our students continue to participate in the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests, 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: the difficulty of each question and how many questions are answered correctly.
Our English Language Arts curriculum continues to be delivered during Literacy Studio, 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 mentor texts that align with comprehension strategies. They also use 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 second grade students use Words Their Way, a developmental approach to teaching phonics, vocabulary, and spelling skills using hands-on methods. Third through fifth grade students use Building Vocabulary, an intermediate level program for spelling and vocabulary. Traditional spelling tests are not used 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 (middle school) curricular resources, 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 curriculum, and the use of “models to representations to abstractions” as an instructional approach.
Finally all District 30 students 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 problem behaviors, and promote social-emotional competence and self-regulation are used at the elementary level. At the middle school level, students participate in a comprehensive standards-aligned program 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. Enjoy the holiday season!
Dr. Melissa E. Hirsch