Right now, school systems across the country are planning for a variety of possibilities for the fall: in-school, remote learning, or a hybrid approach. The truth is we just don’t know what school will look like. What we do know is that no matter what happens, high-quality, aligned instructional materials will play an integral role in supporting teachers and ensuring students can continue to learn.
Are you certain the materials you have in place can address student needs? Where are the strengths and gaps in what you’re currently using? Will you need to adopt a new program over the summer? As district leaders prepare for potential ongoing interruptions during the 2020-21 school year, we’ve created a new resource to help them answer these questions and determine next steps.
The EdReports Reflection and Planning Tool
EdReports created a tool specifically designed to support educators in examining their current instructional materials in order to prioritize the highest leverage actions they can take to support remote learning. Materials provide the foundation for student learning. They become even more critical when students are learning at home with remote instruction and support from teachers. Access the tool on EdReports.org.
In planning and preparing for the next school year, many leaders are considering the quality and alignment of the materials currently used in the system as well as how those materials translate to remote learning. This tool guides district leaders to consider the context of and interaction between three critical elements: instructional materials, the school system, and the community.
However, it is important to keep in mind materials matter not just in a moment of crisis but over the long term. Research in the field tells us that curriculum adoptions are an investment that will have an impact on teaching and learning in your district over the next five to seven years. This tool is designed to help educators consider the longer term needs of their district beyond re-entry this fall.
The Tool is Comprised of 4 sections:
- High-Quality Instructional Materials: In this section you’ll find templates for ELA, math, and science, with a reflection to complete for each content area. You can make additional copies of the template to consider other content areas.
- School System Landscape: You only need to complete the section once, as the statements span all content areas.
- Community Experience: You only need to complete the section once, as the statements span all content areas.
- Putting it all together and preparing for next school year: This section guides you in a synthesis of your reflections across the previous sections and provides a framework to guide you in your preparations for next school year.
How to Approach Your Reflection and Planning Process
As you dive into this resource, we recommend that teams engage in discussion across each section of the reflection tool: instructional materials, system context, and community experience. Given the depth of the reflection portion of this tool, the team could convene virtually or in-person when safety allows and collaboratively work through all three sections. Additionally, the work could be broken into sub-teams to complete the sections and convene for a discussion after they are complete. These discussions are key to beginning your own preparation work, which the tool also provides guidance on.
No matter the meeting structure, teams should approach each section from an asset orientation, rather than a deficit orientation. The intent of the reflection is not to assign blame or rehash past mistakes, but to understand the context in order to move forward effectively.
Invest in the Future Now
Materials matter. They mattered this spring when the COVID-19 crisis forced schools to close for months. And they will matter in the future as students face learning loss and teachers work to overcome existing and newly created gaps. By investing the time now to assess where you are and what your students and teachers truly need, you are setting your district up for success in the fall, no matter what challenges arise.
Access the Reflection and Planning Tool along with other resources to identify and adopt high-quality instructional materials on EdReports.org.
Jess Box is director of field services for EdReports.