K-5 ELA Adoption 2018

 Overview              Curriculum
 Evaluation Form

Portola Valley School District K-5 English Language Art Materials Adoption


The California Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were adopted in August of 2010.  The transition to a CCSS aligned program, along with our community beliefs about teaching and learning, are outlined in our 2013-2018 Strategic Plan.  The staff in the Portola Valley School District have worked over time to understand the standards and the impact of the standards on teaching and learning. As part of the next steps in our Strategic Plan and in order to ensure alignment to the California Common Core Standards, we are going to begin a curriculum adoption cycle for K-5 English Language Arts.


When the CCSS ELA standards were first adopted by the state, the curriculum companies were way behind in providing materials for review by the state for adoption by individual school districts. Because of this, the state created new rules for adopting materials (AB 1246), which allowed more freedom for school districts across the state to use a wide variety of materials to address the changes in literacy instruction.  The companies rushed to build “bridge” materials to support the new standards, but did little to make the major adjustments needed. The graphic below shows a high level overview of key shifts in CCSS. Read more about the shifts.

Luckily, in Portola Valley, the teachers have already been utilizing a Common Core-aligned English Language Arts curriculum throughout the transition called Reading and Writing Workshop. They also have been pulling best practice materials from multiple sources and are able to collaborate to make many of the adjustments around the six shifts. That being said, according to PVSD Board Policy and Administrative Regulations 6141, the district will engage in an evaluative process to recommend curricula for Board adoption. After meeting with the district’s Literacy Leadership Team, consisting of teachers and administrators, the team decided to evaluate two curricula by three teachers, in three separate grade levels.

Process and Timeline

1. Information Gathering - 2014-2017

The school community (staff and parents) have provided valuable input over the last few years focused on elements of value in literacy. This information has been discussed and used to continue to refine the existing literacy programs. Furthermore, quantifiable assessment data is used regularly to determine areas of growth.

2. Materials Evaluation - Fall of 2017

The Literacy Leadership Team met to discuss feedback and data from input gathered as well as the availability of quality materials. The three pilot teachers (1st grade, 2nd grade, and 4th grade)  narrowed the pilot materials to two programs -- Reading and Writing Workshop and EngageNY. The pilot team will use an agreed upon rubric (sample rubric), that reflects the key areas of the California Common Core State Standards and the interests of the community.  A “materials” review is a chance to review materials, but also look at best practice in instruction, universal access (differentiation for students above/below grade level, English Language Learners, and Students With Disabilities). The community can  review the materials in the school office or online to provide feedback.       

3. Materials Pilot - January 2018

The ELA pilot team will pilot materials in their classrooms.  Each curriculum will be piloted for 7-10 days. The pilot teachers will gather feedback on the program, as a teacher of the program, from the students of the program, and from the parents of the program. Teachers will be communicating with families on the exact units of the pilot.

4. Selection - February 2018

The ELA pilot team, based on all the input and data gathered, will make a recommendation to the School Board.  

Next Steps

The pilot process can be challenging and will make us look at things from different viewpoints, but it also creates a lot of excitement around literacy.  After the pilot process is completed and “materials” are selected, is when it gets really exciting for our teachers and students--to have a fully adopted curriculum that we know will be with the district into the future! Once completed, the 6-8 ELA teachers will then focus on aligned curriculum for their grade levels.

Curriculum Review


EngageNY was selected as it provide a modern approach to literacy instruction. The content seems engaging and supports a diverse learning population. The curriculum is open source and currently is being used by New York public schools. 

Reading and Writing Workshop

Reading and Writing Workshop was selected as it has been the K-5 focus resources for the past few years. Teachers are well trained in the program. The focus of personalized instruction for a diverse set of students meets many goals embedded within the strategic plan.

Evaluation Form