Reopening: Moving Toward More Equitable Schools
Header image

EL Education Partners with Open Up Resources to Offer its Highly-Rated OER English Language Arts Curriculum

  • Date

  • Author

    April Hattori

NEW YORK - March 30, 2017 - EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning), a leading K-12 innovator and curriculum provider, has partnered with Open Up Resources, a nonprofit that provides openly-licensed curriculum for K-12 schools, to offer its new K-5 English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum as an Open Educational Resource (OER).

The comprehensive EL Education Language Arts Curriculum builds on the groundbreaking OER curriculum that it created in 2012 for New York State’s EngageNY, which has been downloaded more than 8 million times by educators nationwide and is in use in 44 states. It is Open Up Resource’s first English Language Arts (ELA) offering, and will be available for the 2017-18 school year.

“Our goal in creating our open source literacy curriculum five years ago was to enable teachers beyond our school network to benefit from the rich and rigorous teaching and learning in the EL Education model,” said EL Education’s President and CEO Scott Hartl. “Fast forward to today and 8 million downloads later, educators have confirmed that we’re meeting a critical need in classrooms.  Our collaboration with Open Up Resources expands the reach of our curriculum and ability to support even more teachers and students across the country.”

EL Education’s curriculum is a comprehensive, standards-based core literacy program that engages teachers and students through compelling, real world content. The curriculum has received the highest marks from independent review organizations, including Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuiP), and several states and districts, including New York, Connecticut, and Washington.

The EL Education model has been shown to increase achievement: a recent study by Mathematica Policy Research found that students in EL Education schools gained an extra seven months of learning growth in reading after three years.  

“EL Education is the exact kind of partner we look for,” said Open Up Resources CEO Larry Singer. “They have a proven track record of creating engaging curriculum that produces achievement gains—and their choice to release these excellent materials as OER demonstrates that our organizations have a shared equity mission. We believe that this type of collaboration will help unbind K–12 from the expensive and often poorly standards-aligned textbooks of traditional publishers.”

The newly-enhanced curriculum addresses an expanded definition of student achievement—building students’ academic knowledge and skills, habits of character, and high quality student work. The enhancements in the new curriculum incorporate feedback from teachers around the country and include robust support for English language learners as well as a complementary block of additional instruction time for literacy.

“One of the hallmarks of our curriculum is that it meets educators where they are in their journey, whether they have practiced for one or 20 years,” said Suzanne Plaut, EL Education’s Director of Curriculum Design. “It challenges and engages all students, fosters character, and teaches students to read, think, talk, and write about meaningful topics, all of which are critical for success in college, career, and life.”

Features of the newly-enhanced curriculum include:

  • Addition of a K-2 core program: EL Education’s new curriculum for grades K-2 honors primary learners’ needs for movement, stories, and imagination and comprises a full year of instruction for three hours per day. Students are engaged in content-based lessons that build literacy skills as they learn through the deep study of compelling topics. The third hour of instruction focuses on explicit phonics instruction.
  • Enhanced Grades 3-5 materials: The updated curriculum comprises a full year of instruction for two hours per day, and honors students’ growing capacity to read complex texts, write with depth, and explore pressing issues in the world around them. Students build literacy skills through complex text analysis, and an additional language and literacy block accelerates the achievement of all students.
  • Groundbreaking new supports for English language learners: ELL expert Rebecca Blum-Martinez, Bilingual/ESL Professor at the University of New Mexico and Director of Latin American Programs in Education (LAPE) at the institution, helped design the system of supports for English language learners in the curriculum. Built into each lesson are targeted ELL instruction and supports, including frequent ‘Language Dives’ to unpack the structure and meaning of compelling sentences and ‘Conversation Cues’ to promote rich and equitable discussions. Blum-Martinez notes: “English learners have the same cognitive needs for an enriching and challenging curriculum and learning experiences that any child does.”
  • Engaging design: The new curriculum design is more visually engaging and tailored for ease of use by teachers and students.

The curriculum is available in both print and digital versions for the 2017-18 school year. Districts seeking to adopt the curriculum can choose from a suite of customizable professional learning services, from unit-level professional development to workshops that model and support teacher practice shifts.


EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) is redefining student achievement in diverse communities across the country, ensuring that all students master rigorous content, develop positive character, and produce high-quality work. We create great public schools where they are needed most, inspiring teachers and students to achieve more than they thought possible.

Created nearly 25 years ago through the collaboration of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound, EL Education’s research-based approach challenges and empowers teachers and students. We transform education in thousands of schools and districts across the country through a unique combination of rigor and joy in learning.

As a mission-driven, nonprofit organization, we work with all kinds of schools: district and charter, from pre-K through 12th grade, serving populations that reflect the diversity of our country. We create powerful resources--in addition to our curriculum, we provide masterful coaching and professional development, and share a portfolio of award-winning, educator-developed materials.  One reason for our success: our work is informed by decades of learning in our national network of over 150 high-achieving public schools, serving 4,000 teachers and 50,000 students. 


Open Up Resources is a nonprofit that develops the highest-quality, openly licensed, full course curricula for reduced cost to districts. Formerly the K-12 OER Collaborative, Open Up Resources partners with the country’s foremost materials experts in the development of superb, freely-licensed instructional materials, then provides districts with necessary support for implementation with fidelity. Its mission: to provide students with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned materials, while easing adoption by districts. ‬‬‬For more information, visit

Below is media coverage of the partnership: