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.

  1. Know district needs.

    Consider the questions laid out in this Knowing Your Starting Point Data Inventory before digging into curricular options.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.