Curriculum Connections Cohort
22 Colorado schools partnered with EL Education to implement, expand and innovate on EL Education’s K-5 Language Arts Curriculum. With support from the Bloomberg Foundation, schools engaged in four regional cohorts to implement the ELA curriculum, and translate curriculum modules into authentic, locally relevant expeditions through an improvement science approach.
In 2017, EL Education engaged in two-year literacy achievement project in Colorado that aims to expand our capacity in ELA curriculum development and expedition design. The overarching goals of this work are to: A) deepen the capacity of teachers and leaders in this network to support students’ literacy achievement; B) to create literacy models and resources that serve to inspire others to adopt the EL Education approach; C) to launch one deep district partnership that will eventually lead to student outcomes (beyond the currently stated grant term); and D) to collect and assess our learnings (including our network strategy) to support improvement locally and encourage replication in other districts and communities
School teams (comprised of school leaders, instructional coaches, and ELA teachers) engaged in project activities through the following: participated in shared cohort PD on curriculum implementation; engaged in and led ELA curriculum walkthroughs and data debriefs to examine rigor of instruction and student literacy practices; received regular coaching from EL coaches; participated in regular improvement cycles, where schools teams reviewed data and proposed change ideas to improve instruction; modified curriculum modules into expeditions; and collaborated with other cohort school teams through site visits and resource sharing.
While evaluation efforts are still ongoing, early results suggest substantial impact on teacher and leaders’ capacity to support students’ literacy achievement, as well as positive effects on student behaviors and learning. In the May 2019 convening, teachers from across the 22 participating schools led master classes on 11 models of rigorous, curriculum based expeditions or improvement practices - these models are currently being developed into case summaries that will be featured in our resource library to share with the broader EL network. Additionally, early results from walkthroughs and staff survey data suggest a substantial positive effect on teacher practice (more robust instructional practices, such as text-based questioning, use of high-quality texts, and common core-aligned learning asks), leadership behaviors (i.e., leading instructional improvement, ability to recognize CCSS-aligned instruction), and student outcomes (quality of student products, students cognitive and literacy skill development).