gmhTODAY 19 gmhToday April May 2018 - Page 66

School Days: Gilroy Unified School District Upholding the Gold Standard in Teaching & Learning Materials Written By Robin Shepherd A ccess to high quality texts and instructional materials has a tremendous impact on the quality of education our students receive. But how do California’s public school systems choose these materials? GUSD Curriculum & Instruction Directors Kathleen Biermann and Deborah Padilla describe the process. . . It all starts with the California Department of Education (CDoE), which requires public school districts to provide students with standards-aligned textbooks and instructional materials in reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and history. In recent years, CDoE has updated its curriculum frameworks for these subject areas, and the State Board has published a list of approved materials. GUSD has responded by updating curriculum and adopting new state-approved materials aligned with the new frame- works. Prior to textbook selection, teachers, and students “test pilot” new materials and provide feedback regarding interest level, online accessibility, and suitability to the academic requirements of all students. Over the past two years our students have received new materials for the following areas of study: Fourth Grader Maleah Vasquez, Eliot Elementary, uses Bench- mark Advance during reading instruction. Elementary Math Elementary English Language Arts Middle School Math Middle School English High School Math High School Chemistry High School AP US History High School AP World History 66 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Amanda Macias, Third Grade Teacher at Eliot Elementary, instructs students using the Go Math! curriculum. Our new adoptions also enable technology-blended instruction. Online extensions of math programs combine educational technology with mathematics content. Similarly, the English Language Arts programs allow students to inter- act with books using technology as a medium. Students not only have access to a vast digital library containing thousands of books, but they can annotate, highlight, and take notes on the online reading materials. Through this careful process, we’re equipping our students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21 st Century. APRIL/MAY 2018 Adopted in the 2016-2017 school year, Go Math! (elementary) and College Preparatory Math (middle school) focus on building problem-solving skills that can be applied in real-life scenarios. Students develop a conceptual under- standing of mathematics, learn how to explain their thinking, and practice applying a variety of strategies to solve problems. Last year, elementary school teachers adopted Benchmark Advance for English language Arts instruction, and Benchmark Adelante for instruction in Spanish (used in Dual Immersion classes). Study Sync is used at GUSD middle schools. These programs address Common Core standards. These rigorous curricula make use of non-fiction texts and a variety of literature genres, encourage students to work collaboratively, and offer materials at different instructional levels to serve student needs on an individualized level.