School District Moves Forward With New Elementary ELA Curriculum

By Adam Swift

Following a lengthy and in-depth search process, the school district has chosen a new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum for kindergarten through grade 5.

“After months of meetings and going through all the potential curriculums, the (curriculum subcommittee) has finalized Bookworms as the new curriculum,” said school committee member Zachary Purinton, who serves on the curriculum committee.

Professional development on the new curriculum will begin on June 5, and Purinton said the new curriculum will be used to inform the district’s summer reading program for students.

Purinton said the selection process involved looking at five different curriculums, with representatives from the finalists making presentations to the curriculum committee. Teachers, reading specialists, and administrators all had input into the selection process, he added.

Superintendent of Schools Lisa Howard said the selection process focused on using student data to help determine the best program for Winthrop students.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Lori Gallivan said Bookwork is based on building core and fundamental knowledge for students, with each module having a science or social studies element.

The curriculum mixes core reading as well as shared reading and involves reading below, at, and above grade level in every classroom.

“It really is that foundational building of the core knowledge that I think the teachers sounded like they were most excited about,” said Gallivan.

Gallivan added that there is a structure and routine to the curriculum that makes it easy to transfer from classroom to classroom and from one grade level to the next.

“We’re happy that it’s something that even if there is a substitute, we won’t have to give out different lessons,” said Gallivan. “They will be able to step in, because the kids will know what the routine is.”

Howard said the consistency of the program through the elementary grade levels will be a big win for the district.

“For our staff as well as our students as they transfer from one school to the next, it’s not a whole new methodology of teaching, it is a consistent practice from K through five,” said Howard.

The superintendent said that research shows that the consistency of methodology between grade levels helps with higher reading scores and literacy rates.

Gallivan noted that all the lessons are available for free online, and what the district will be purchasing are the trade books that address all the modules and topics.

Purinton noted that the curriculum will also meet all the district’s diversity and equity requirements.

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