Bethel’s latest English Language Arts adoption is aimed at helping kids think critically. Springboard is a curriculum designed by the College Board – the same organization that administers Advanced Placement testing and other college preparatory programs. Principal on special assignment Mary Sewright says the move to Springboard has been a big change for staff and students, alike. The program is heavily focused on writing and that’s important for engaging students and developing their skills.
So far, the switch has been positive and embraced by teachers. Each unit has an embedded assessment with steps so students know exactly what the test expectations are ahead of time. That way, there are no surprises.
“It is getting kids to see things through different eyes and different perceptions,” said Sewright. “The kids I have talked to like it because they know exactly what that assessment is going to be because they are building toward it all the time.
Recently, administrators and teachers conducted a series of learning walks at the middle and high schools to see first hand how the new curriculum was doing. A facilitator from Springboard was there to help guide the discussion.
“We went in and collected data about the implementation and what is going on in the classrooms so that we could know where do we go from here what can we do to strengthen it,” said Sewright. “Everybody had it going on. It was really great.”
Sewright says the district is offering a lot of ongoing professional development and a team of ELA teacher-leaders meet monthly to track the adoption.
“It is really good material,” said Sewright. “It is much more rigorous than anything that we have had."