Navigating the ELA Materials Adoption Process
Selecting English Language Arts (ELA) materials is one of the most critical decisions a district will make. Finding materials that are aligned to California's standards and meet the needs of your district can be overwhelming, particularly when examining a crowded marketplace. This protocol helps districts prioritize time while maximizing choice.
California leads the country in its articulation of the importance of considering the needs of English language learners when selecting materials, and this protocol is designed to help districts make effective selections for programs that serve all students. Through the process, districts will also identify how well materials meet the California ELA/ELD Framework, and whether or not they will need to create or procure supplemental materials.
The following steps will help districts identify specific needs of their students and quality instructional materials that meet these needs.
Know district needs.
Consider the questions laid out in this Knowing Your Starting Point Data Inventory before digging into curricular options.
Clearly identify district priorities, parameters, and a decision-making process.
What are primary and secondary goals of this adoption, e.g., building capacity at the school and district levels, revamping instructional programming? What is your budget for this process, for supplementary materials, and for educator training and support? How will decisions be made? Review additional resources for information on the CA CCSS ELA standards, the ELD standards and shifts, and what the CCSS ELA look like in practice.
Engage educators early and often and clearly define roles for educators within the process.
Develop a shared vocabulary and understanding of the characteristics of quality ELA materials. Develop a clear communication plan to update all educators in your district on your progress and goals, not just committee members.
Engage community members.
Curricular decisions affect the entire community, and engaging the school board, parent groups, unions, and other key stakeholders to provide input as the process unfolds will build support down the line.
Winnow choices based on alignment to CA CCSS for ELA.
Identifying which materials are aligned to the standards is the best place to start with any adoption process. Ensure that materials are aligned to CA CCSS. Gather evidence about ELA Materials, including information about the materials on the California SBE adoption list as well as information about materials that are not on the list but are closely aligned with the standards.For 3-8 ELA Materials
Materials should align with the ELA standards and provide structure for what students should learn at each grade level.
- Skim the Publisher's Criteria for 3-12 ELA to understand the key characteristics that materials should have to meet the demands of the standards.
- Read the ELA Reviews and look at evidence for programs on the CA ELA Adoption List.
- Consider programs that are not on the CA adoption list that are aligned or closely aligned to content standards to consider going off list.
- Choose 2-4 sets of ELA materials that your adoption committee will analyze to see how well they meet local priorities, including alignment to the ELD shifts.
- Lead a text-based discussion with the adoption committee.
- What does the evidence say about each set of materials?
- How could the identified strengths support your teachers’ understanding and implementation of standards-aligned materials?
- What steps would you and your team need to take to fill any identified gaps?
Review for ELD standards and shifts.
Many districts will prioritize finding materials that meet the requirements for Program 2: Basic ELA/ELD. These materials will be aligned to the CA CCSS and meet the CA ELD standards and shifts. The steps below will help districts to learn more about the ELD shifts and identify which materials support their implementation.
TIP: Reviewing materials for the ELD shifts is excellent professional development and can help educators become more familiar with these standards.For ELD Reviews
- Read the CA ELA/ELD Framework and consider how the ELD shifts are new for you or your team.
- Identify any ELD supplements or additional resources that come with the materials.
- Open the EdReports reviews for the selected curricula.
- Consider the ELD shifts, starting with the English Language Development shift around Meaningful Interactions with Complex Texts. Look for evidence in the reviews and in the materials, using these guiding questions and steps.
- Look for the shift around Building an Understanding of How Language and Meaning-Making Work. Look for evidence in the reviews and in the materials, using these guiding questions and steps.
Apply local priorities.
After you’ve winnowed the field, work with your committee to develop and apply a rubric for determining how well materials meet the local priorities outlined in Step 2. By this point, you know how well they meet the standards and shifts outlined in the CA ELA/ELD Framework, and now you can focus on learning more about the local priorities through pilots or through PLC study of the materials.
Make a decision.
Lead your team through a decision making process and prepare to share the data and how the process worked with your school board and the full education community. For ideas on how to structure your decision making process, see pages 79-83 of the ELA-ELD Adoption Toolkit.
Create a rollout and implementation plan.
No materials will come off the shelf perfectly ready to meet your district’s needs. Map how materials need to be supplemented to become better aligned, what professional development your coaches, school leaders, and teachers will need, and how you will assess how well the materials are working over the next several years.