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The school board unanimously votes to adopt new English Language Arts lesson plans.

A link placed on the Colton School District's website and social media pages invited parents and community members to review and evaluate new curriculum choices and give input before the final selections were made.

After months of training and working through the vetting process both teams selected curriculums by publisher McGraw-Hill. The teams presented their choices to the directors of the Colton School Board at its April 11 meeting.

The vote for the adoption of the McGraw-Hill ELA curriculum for grades K-5 and 6-12 was brought before the school board at the May 9 meeting. The board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed curriculums.


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.

Sahleen said they were looking for a 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 students. The path to success doesn't look the same for every child. Wonders helps you accommodate varied learning needs with instructional resources, and data-driven differentiations to teach, re-teach, or extend — broadening all students' horizons."

Wonders offers textbooks and companion workbooks, Sahleen said . The curriculum also is 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, and 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, it helps educators and parents match students to materials at the right level of difficulty.

Parents will be able to access the data dashboards for their 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 up 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 said.

"I was interested in StudySync because of the short stories it contained," Collins 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 the majority of 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. Some 85% of them said they liked the selections offered, 25% want print options available, 90% said the online option was straightforward 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 anytime. The school will give instruction and parent passwords at the beginning of the school year.

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