History Social-Science Pilot 2018

Portola Valley School District K-8 History-Social Science Materials Adoption


The curriculum framework for History-Social Science was adopted by the State Board of Education on July 14, 2016.  This new framework provides for an inquiry-based instructional approach that prioritizes the development of student content knowledge and literacy. This approach towards teaching History-Social Science aligns with our community beliefs about teaching and learning as outlined in our LCAP.  The staff in the Portola Valley School District have worked extensively on including an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning in all subjects and the new framework offers both a conceptual model and concrete example to help teachers organize their instruction around questions of significance for students to explore. As part of the next steps in our Strategic Plan and in order to ensure alignment to the History-Social Science framework, we are going to begin a curriculum adoption cycle for K-8 History-Social Science.

History Framework Focus


Although the content standards for History-Social Science have not changed, the new framework integrates both the Common Core (adopted in 2010) and English Language Development Standards (adopted in 2012). This is a significant change.  Since the last adoption in 2005, there have also been changes to the new framework that came from a legislative mandate. These have required new or expanded content to be added and sources have changed to reflect “current and confirmed research”.

The teachers in Portola Valley have been focused on an inquiry-based approach for teaching History-Social Science for many years and the framework has finally caught up. It has been difficult to find materials that matched this approach to teaching and learning but with the adoption of the new framework, publishers have aligned their curricular materials to match the new framework. Materials include an instructional shift to an inquiry-based model focused on student content knowledge, discipline-specific inquiry, students literacy, and citizenship. There is an emphasis on questions of significance and using multiple sources to help students investigate questions in depth which encourages engagement.  The curriculum materials that we currently have in our classroom were adopted 12 years ago and no longer match the innovative approaches to teaching and learning taking place in Portola Valley.

Process and Timeline

Timeline for Adoption

1. Materials Evaluation - Spring/Fall 2018

The History-Social Science Leadership Team reviewed the availability of quality materials at the County Office of Education.  The team created a rubric to use to review materials not only looking at best practice in instruction but also at universal access (differentiation for students above/below grade level, English Language Learners, and Students With Disabilities). The team then narrowed down the choices to two for K-5 and three for 6-8--TCI Elementary (K-5) / TCI Middle School (6-8), Discovery Education(6-8),  and Pearson My World Interactive (K-8)     

2. Materials Pilot - October/December 2018

One teacher in each grade level will pilot the curriculum in their classrooms. The pilot team will use an agreed upon evaluation, that reflects the key areas of the History-Social Science Framework.  Each curriculum will be piloted for 15-30 days. The pilot teachers will gather feedback on the program from their students. Teachers will be communicating with families on the exact units of the pilot. Feedback from all stakeholders including community members will also be gathered. The community can review the materials at either school site and provide feedback.

3. Selection - January 2019

The History-Social Science Leadership Team, based on all the input and data gathered, will make a recommendation to the School Board.  

4. Professional Development - Spring 2019

Once the new curriculum is selected, professional development and planning time will be provided to all History-Social Science teachers prior to implementation into classrooms.