July 17, 2018
by Sam Shaw, EdReports Director of Science Review
I’ll never forget the day a student attempted to bring a baby rattlesnake into my seventh grade life science class. He’d caught the snake on his farm and wanted to share it with me and his classmates. While I knew we couldn’t have a rattler, no matter how tiny, in school, I didn’t want to squash the student’s initial curiosity and interest.
So I told him he could bring in a bullsnake instead. With the bullsnake as an example, I worked with the student to do research on how different species behave in captivity and why. The student began to see the animals on his farm in new ways and with greater understanding for the roles they play in the larger ecosystem.
That’s the true promise of science education: it allows kids to engage in the natural world and to figure out why things exist and how they work, while showing us that such exploration and discovery is a universal human act.
June 20, 2018
by Shannah Estep, EdReports.org Outreach Specalist
One of my favorite parts of the work I do with EdReports is learning alongside and supporting districts that are considering a new instructional materials adoption.
Many districts have limited time and resources to spend on this important decision, and there can be an overwhelming number of programs to choose from. To add to the pressure, materials make a huge impact on student learning, teachers’ professional development, district assessments, and communication with parents.
So what are the best strategies for ensuring your district chooses wisely? Here are three tips that will set your adoption process on the right track and guide you in your quest for high-quality, aligned instructional materials.
June 14, 2018
A school district uses consensus protocols to overcome divisions when selecting new materials
Guest Blogger: Dr. Duane Cox, Principal, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, California
Anyone who has ever been involved with selecting new materials will likely tell you that the process is rewarding, but complicated. This was certainly our experience in 2017 when the Newport-Mesa Unified School (NMUSD) district selected a new K-5 math program through a comprehensive, teacher-led adoption process.
We decided to bring 30 teachers together and apply a day-long consensus process to decide what our final program recommendation to the school board would be. Here a few takeaways from our process I hope can be helpful to other districts.
May 30, 2018
Professional learning is integral to a strong instructional materials adoption, and even more important in guaranteeing that selected materials thrive in classrooms. Don’t take our word for it—ask Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD).
During its 2016 math adoption, NMUSD leveraged comprehensive, team-based professional learning throughout the process. Its story offers three examples of the power of professional learning to ensure that the materials selected are standards-aligned, that educator voice and expertise is effectively harnessed, and that teachers are supported in using the materials to best meet the needs of all students.
May 23, 2018
At EdReports, we’re passionate about working with and learning from districts to capture best practices for making curriculum adoption decisions. We work with districts large and small, urban and rural, all with dedicated individuals striving to ensure students thrive.
We know that great teachers and great materials lead to lasting success for all students. As part of our efforts to empower districts to choose the best curriculum for their school communities, we created the three resources below to support the adoption process. We invite you to read and share them. Let's keep learning together!
May 22, 2018
Guest Blogger: Jennifer Johnson, Educational Technology Specialist, Marysville Public Schools, Michigan
Marysville Public Schools in Michigan is a small school district filled with teachers and staff dedicated to the 2,800 students we serve. While there are many benefits to working for a small district, capacity is definitely not one of them.
Due to our size, we’re all required to wear many hats. Our superintendent is also our director of curriculum. I’m the educational technology specialist and the supervisor of instructional technology and assessment.
The impact of our limited capacity was evident in the 2015-16 school year, when we began the process of examining the quality of our instructional materials. We wanted to improve our student learning outcomes and knew the important role materials played in reaching our goals; however, we didn’t have access to hundreds of staff, infinite hours, and endless resources. What we did have was free access to EdReports.org.