The Colton School District completes its curriculum review and looks forward to adoption for the future

The Colton School District formed curriculum review teams to select new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculums for the students of the district.

After months of evaluation and training the elementary and secondary schools made their choices and both selected curriculums by publisher McGraw-Hill. The teams presented their choices to the directors of the Colton School Board at their April 11 meeting. A vote for adoption of these curriculums is on the board agenda for the meeting on May 9.

The Herald-Pioneer.

Colton Elementary School teacher, Debra Sahleen headed up the elementary curriculum adoption team consisting of educators, Lisa Browning, Claire Hundley, Rebecca Riddle and Principal Mario Alba to evaluate and choose the ELA curriculum that would be best suited to the district. According to Sahleen, they were looking for curriculum that would build on the science of learning, a "structured literacy approach" that focuses on phonics, writing, grammar, language development, reading and comprehension.

"We did our due diligence to narrow seven options down to two," Sahleen said. "We then spent more time studying and evaluating the final two offerings. Our group was pretty much evenly split on a choice. We discussed that with Superintendent (Dave) Kline who brought in Educational Consultant Teresa Lewellen, a specialist in curriculum and development. She provided training and at the end of the sessions the staff voted to recommend the 'Wonders' curriculum by McGraw-Hill for adoption."

The McGraw-Hill "Wonders" website says the goal is to reach every learner. The curriculum will enrich, extend, and support learning for all your students. The path to success doesn't look the same for every child. "Wonders" helps you accommodate varied learning needs with instructional on-ramps, scaffolded supports, English language learners (ELL) resources, and data-driven differentiation to teach, re-teach, or extend—broadening all students' horizons.

Sahleen said, Wonders offers text books and consumable companions (workbooks). The curriculum is also entirely available online and can be downloaded to the school issued Chromebooks.

"The curriculum gives multiple options and methods for instruction," Sahleen said. "Students can learn their way. We can meet them where they are. This curriculum is inclusive from readers who need remediation to talented and gifted students."

Wonders uses the Lexile framework for reading and listening ability. It measures the difficulty of a text and when used together with the student reader's Lexile level, helps educators and parents match students to materials at the right level of difficulty.

Parents will be able to access the data dashboards for the children and have immediate information on student progress and where they are in the curriculum and what is offered.

More information can be found at the McGraw-Hill "Wonders" website.

The secondary school's curriculum adoption team, Kendra Collins, Elise Iliscupidez, Jacques Thibodeaux, middle school Principal Jesus Ramos and high school Principal Travis Remmick, set steps for evaluation and determination of a new ELA curriculum The steps included identifying engaging materials, for all levels, student accessibility, instructional design, teacher accessibility including training and support.

The process used for making the final choice included training from Clackamas Education Service District, establishing priorities for Colton's needs, reviewing publisher overviews and digital samples. Following the assessments and evaluation, the secondary schools' team chose McGraw-Hill "StudySync."

"It is really amazing material and challenging with an online library of resources for multiple grades with interesting, not stagnant, options," Iliscupidez, a middle school teacher, said.

"I was interested in StudySync because of the short stories it contained," Collins, also a middle school teacher, said. "Also, some of the excerpts contained can be used to do a novel study. What better way to get students into reading and writing than to have interesting topics to work with? Some of the other offered curriculums seemed to cater to students with different backgrounds than most Colton students. Also, another great selling point was the ease of its online platform."

Students at the middle school were able to review the material. Roughly 85 percent of them said they liked the selections offered, 25 percent want print options available, 90 percent said the online option was straight forward and easy to use.

Colton High School teacher Amanda Hanson said the team was impressed with the online standards of pre-assessment, progress and post assessment data offered for each assignment. She also was impressed with the read to answer questions segments. One assignment (of many different topic choices) in the high school workbook states: "World War I and World War II have more in common than many people realize."

It asks students choosing the topic for their writing assignment to read, analyze and convey what they learned and want to share on the topic.

"The building of knowledge is the best approach to help kids fill in the blanks when they read," Hanson said.

Information on what is presented in the classroom and how each student is doing will be available to parents and guardians at any time. The school will give instruction and parent passwords at the beginning of the school year.

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