Across the country educators are rolling up their sleeves to dig into their existing materials, improve them, and share them with colleagues nationwide. The Adapting Materials Project, was a pilot funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support four districts who wanted to engage in this work. The funding allowed the districts to engage in deep training to build their understanding of Common Core alignment and to design effective adaptations. It also allowed for the completion of expert research into the most critical areas of misalignment in today’s math and ELA/literacy materials, allowing the districts (as well as other districts who may choose to adapt in the future) to focus on the most pressing needs in their existing materials. Student Achievement Partners and Achieve partnered with three districts and one charter network across the Northeast region; two districts focused on ELA, while the other two focused on math. Pilot team members represented various roles including classroom teachers, coaches, learning specialists, interventionists, and district leaders.
If you follow this blog regularly, you may have already read about unique processes followed by the district teams adapting math and ELA materials, but in the case studies attached to this post, you’ll be able to dive deep into the activities completed by the project’s participants as well as explore the outcomes. Although this work cannot be simplified into a “one-size-fits-all” approach, we believe there is much to be learned from this pilot and many elements of the work that can be replicated in work you may do in the future in your own school or district.
Each case study begins with a brief background on the current instructional materials landscape for each district, followed by the specific steps they took on their adapting materials journey. Finally, we have included an index of tools and resources for anyone interested in pursuing the adapting materials process.
The obvious benefit to districts adapting their materials is the enhancement of the materials they are currently using in classrooms day in and day out. Equally important, however, is the fact that training educators to adapt materials has proven to be rich professional development and a great venue for educators to build a deeper understanding of the Common Core. Development of content knowledge through these processes allowed participating educators to be more comfortable in deciding whether the materials they are using align to the standards. In turn, being more comfortable with the content has empowered these educators to make immediate improvements to materials in order to better serve.
We’re excited to be able to share these case studies because they showcase the high-quality, hard work of all who participated. They offer succinct information about the approaches used to define the projects and scope, the resources and strategies used by the different teams, and the outcomes of this work. We will be continuing to add to this series in the future by providing more detail and additional perspectives about the work that was done. We hope through sharing these materials and the voices of the people who led a and contributed to the work, that you find tools for your own classrooms, inspiration and optimism about the benefits of adapting materials, and the supports to allow you to customize and try these approaches in your own schools and districts.