Curriculum (and much more) matters
What enables effective curriculum implementation?
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of adopting high-quality instructional materials so teachers have the resources to bring powerful learning to life. But the latest research and our own experience show that only adopting new materials is not enough to make a reliable difference in how much students learn. So what’s the answer? A new report suggests leaders should look to the example set in Tulsa.
Successful Implementation of High-Quality Instructional Materials, a new report from the Center for American Progress, highlights five different approaches to supporting teachers with curriculum-aligned professional learning. The report details our partnership with Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) to support a five-year districtwide rollout of Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA). By equipping teachers to engage deeply with quality materials, strengthen their practice, and create grade-appropriate learning experiences that reach every learner, TPS hopes to make big strides tied to equity.
In the report, Devin Fletcher, the chief talent and learning officer of Tulsa Public Schools, says that the district’s leadership has had to ask themsevles, “How are we as a district creating strong experiences for leaders to continue to build content knowledge and ensure they understand standards?”
Two years into the work, some of the lessons learned include:
- Connecting strong curricula to professional learning helps educators build their knowledge of standards.
- Any effective professional development must build in opportunities for practice, reflection, and feedback.
- Buy-in from teachers and school leadership on the vision and process for professional development is critical for success.
High-quality instructional materials are a powerful lever for expanding opportunity in classrooms because they take out the guesswork for teachers about what to teach. That frees them up to use their time and energy focusing on how to meet students’ unique needs and incorporate their strengths into lessons. With the growing availability of open education resources and reliable information on quality from EdReports, the time is right for districts to reconsider curricula and connect professional learning as improvement strategies.
Learn more about our partnership with Tulsa Public Schools.