Departments » Educational Services » 2021-22 Elementary English/Language Arts Adoption Committee

2021-22 Elementary English/Language Arts Adoption Committee

As a part of the Expanded Learning Opportunity Grant, RBUSD has identified K-5 ELA Curriculum as an area of need. We recognize that research shows growing evidence that high-quality instructional materials matter just as much as great teaching, and we have clearly heard from our teachers and administrators the wish for updated ELA curriculum and materials. Therefore, we wish to convene an Elementary ELA Curriculum Exploration and Adoption Committee for the 2021-22 school year. Our goal is to finalize the adoption and implementation for the 2022-23 school year. Due to the nature of the work that will be involved, it is highly preferred that committee members are fully committed and able to attend all meetings and trainings, and commit to sharing learnings and gathering feedback from the stakeholder groups with whom they represent. 


Over the 2021-22 school year, this committee will engage in the following work:


*Explore the research on best practices in early literacy instruction through collaboration and training with The New Teacher Project (TNTP)
*Establish a shared vision for excellence in early literacy instruction as a lens for examining CA Standards-aligned Curriculum
*Review policies and tools used to select materials in RBUSD
*Understand the timeline for review/selection
*Engage in reviewing and selecting materials through teacher and leader focus groups
*Participate in informational sessions/PD to experience materials firsthand
*Interact with prospective ELA curriculums
*Help to speak to and engage additional stakeholders in decision making and input


The RBUSD K-5 ELA Curriculum Exploration and Adoption Committee will meet over 2 full-day sessions (September 30, 2021, October 21, 2021, and likely 1 more in January, TBD) as well as monthly afterschool sessions as needed (November, January, February, March, April, & May – dates TBD), from 3-5pm. Additionally, members will be asked to review and evaluate materials outside of meeting hours, not to exceed 10 hours.


At the heart, changing the literacy experience for students and ensuring all students are getting access to rigorous, grade-level instruction in all our classrooms, will ensure that our investments in high-quality materials truly return better learning outcomes for our students.

Committee Members
Committee Member Name Stakeholder Role or Position
Dr. Susan Wildes Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services
Lisa Veal Executive Director, Educational Services
Elyse Hertz Teacher on Special Assignment
Kathleen Shaw Secondary Teacher on Special Assignment & Parent
Eileen Leckenby
Coordinator, Educational Services
Karin Sato Principal, Alta Vista Elementary
Mira Baskaron Principal, Birney Elementary
Courtney Meyer Teacher
Breezy Teran Teacher
Jen Conant Teacher
Navika Shewa Teacher
Pam Cadena Teacher & EL Site Specialist
Denine Hollow Teacher
Courtney Baker Teacher
Emily Butler Teacher
Brianne Cohen Teacher
Michelle Kelly Teacher
Kristy Kowal Teacher
Drew Spahn Teacher
Jen Bell Teacher
Lauren Whaley Teacher
Meleesa Smith Teacher
Miguel Salcedo Dual Immersion Teacher
Billy Barnhart Special Education Teacher
Thembi Ramos Special Education Teacher
Trinidee Trice Special Education Teacher
Jessica Wong Parent
Stacie Maziarz Parent
Rachel Silverman-Nemeth RBUSD Board Member
Rolf Strutzenberg RBUSD Board Member

October 15, 2021

Good morning ELA Curriculum Adoption Committee Team Members,

We are so excited to continue our momentum from the first ELA Curriculum Adoption Committee Retreat and continue the learning process about high quality literacy materials. Day one was an engaging and productive day, and we are so thankful to have such a thoughtful, dedicated, expert group to help guide our district in making this very important selection.


Our next meeting is on Thursday, October 21 from 8:00-3:15 (*please note the change of end time). We will meet again in the multipurpose room of the South Bay Adult School. Similar to our first day, we will provide morning coffee and lunch from Corner Bakery. Please reach out to me directly if you have any dietary restrictions so we can make proper arrangements.


TNTP has lots to share with us, so please be sure to complete the following pre-work so that we are all ready to engage in the learning. Please prioritize completing the “Must Do” texts and the “May Do” texts are optional (to do in all of your free time!). Elyse and Kathleen hit the road yesterday, and you will find printed hard copies at all of your sites along with a sweet treat to energize you for your reading (thanks, Kathleen & Elyse!).


Must Do (*Prioritize)

Required: Read Why Aren’t We Teaching Reading The Right Way? By Emily Handford

Required: Watch the first 17 minutes of Timothy Shanahan’s Keynote for the 2018 UnboundEd Standards Institute.



May Do (Optional)

Optional: Listen to Hard Words: Why Aren't Our Kids Being Taught to Read? (approx. 52 min) By Emily Hanford (Text version also available).

Optional: Read Struggle is Not a Bad Word: Misconceptions and Recommendations About Readers Struggling with Difficult Texts, by Lupo, Strong, and Smith 


If you like more processing time, you may want to preview the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET), paying particular attention to Non-Negotiables 1 and 4 (Foundational Skills)


Reflect: What “aha” moments did you have while reading the article or listening to the podcast? What connections did you make to your own experiences with learning to read, teaching reading or supporting your own children? What does the science of reading have to do with access for all students?


Reflect: How is providing access to complex texts a matter of equity? What are some reasons many students are still not receiving access to complex text despite the evidence that supports the practice?




The agenda for our time together:

  • 8:00-8:15 Building Team & Introduction
  • 8:15-8:45 Vision, Values and Norms
  • 8:45-9:00 Introduction to the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET)
  • 9:00-9:10 Break 
  • 9:10-11:10 Deep Dive: Reading Foundational Skills 
  • 11:10-11:30 Customize IMET for Reading Foundational Skills
  • 11:30-12:10 Lunch 
  • 12:10-2:10  Deep Dive: Complex Text 
  • 2:10-2:20  Break
  • 2:20-2:40 Customize IMET for Complex Texts
  • 2:40-3:15 Reflection, Elevator Speech and Next Steps 

Thank you all for your commitment to this work,


The Educational Services Team

November 10, 2021



We are so excited to continue our momentum from our second ELA Curriculum Adoption Committee Retreat and continue our learning process about high quality literacy materials. We are so thankful to have such a thoughtful, dedicated, expert group to help guide our district in making this very important selection.


Our next meeting is a full day meeting on Monday, November 15th from 8:00 - 3:15 pm.  Together we will focus on the final two “Deep Dives” of new learning: Building Knowledge and Writing with Evidence. We will meet again at the South Bay Adult School, multi-purpose room.


TNTP has lots to share with us, so please be sure to complete the following prework so that we are all ready to engage in the learning. Please prioritize completing the “Must Do” texts and the “May Do” texts are optional (to do in all of your free time!)


Must Do (*Prioritize)

Required: Read Elementary Education Has Gone Horribly Wrong by Natalie Wexler (attached as PDF).

Required: Read The Writing Revolution by Peg Tyre (attached as PDF).


May Do (Optional)

Optional: Read pages 1-4 of the Knowledge Matters Campa:ign ESSA Brief. By Tim Shanahan​

Optional: Read the Foreword and Executive Summary of Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading by Steve Graham and Michael Hubert

If you like more processing time, you may want to preview the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool (IMET), paying particular attention to Non-Negotiables 2 and 3 (Evidence-Based Writing and Building Knowledge & Vocabulary).


Reflect: How is building students’ knowledge and vocabulary tied to equity? How does our current system perpetuate these inequities? ​

Reflect: How does writing fit with the other literacy practices we’ve engaged with thus far? What role does writing play in providing all students equal opportunities for success?​


December 16, 2021

Dear ELA Curriculum Adoption Committee members, 


Now that we have had time to explore EdReports through the lens of our committee's learning, it is time to collect suggestions for a possible ELA curriculum. Please submit high-quality curriculum options that you would like the committee to consider when we begin reviewing curricula using this form. Each member may submit up to 3 options for consideration by January 6th. 


We will begin exploring and evaluating options using the IMET at our next meeting on January 18 from 3:15 pm-5:15 pm at South Bay Adult School.


Thank you for your dedication to this important work. 


We wish you all a safe and blessed Holiday Season!


Educational Services

January 28, 2022

Greetings Curriculum Adoption Committee!


We hope this finds you all healthy and well.  We wanted to take a moment to thank you for your engagement in last Thursday’s IMET Practice session (despite it being the end of a work day and over Zoom) and acknowledge your feedback.


Here’s what we heard:


What went well?

  • Appreciated the small group time and collaboration and want to continue to leverage small groups for future learning
  • The structure and usability of the IMET


What could be improved?

  • Not having physical materials/access to full texts, teacher editions etc.
  • Packed too much into a short amount of time (need to go deeper with less materials)
  • Not being in person


Given your feedback, we also wanted to share our approach and next steps for February’s review session.  Last week, we mentioned that we were going to send out a survey for you to indicate your preference for which curriculum you would like to review.  However, we’ve heard from many of you that you want to be able to see materials from all 4 curriculum options – This being said, each committee member will review/rate all 4 curriculum options (CKLA, Wit & Wisdom, MyView and EL), but focus on just one non-negotiable.


February Meeting:

Our plan for February’s session is to meet in 3 separate groups for a full day (8:00am - 3:15 pm).  All groups will review all 4 curriculum and rate only one non-negotiable.  Depending on which non-negotiable group you are placed in, you will attend one of the following sessions:


Non Negotiable


1 – Building Knowledge Through High Quality Texts

Monday, February 28

2 – Evidence-Based Questions, Tasks and Assignments

Tuesday, March 1

3 – Reading Foundational Skills

Thursday, March 3


Next Steps:

  • Please indicate on the SURVEY which nonnegotiable you want to review by Friday, February 4, 2022.  We will try to give you your first choice, but may have to place you in your second choice depending on group size. Those members who do not complete the survey will be randomly assigned. We will provide group assignments the following week and confirm substitutes on your behalf.
  • We will share more specific pre-work for February as we get closer, but HERE is where you can start to preview materials in advance.


We will update you on which group/session you should attend once we have survey results.  Please reach out with any questions in the meantime.


Thank you!

Educational Services

February 7, 2022

 Greetings ELA Curriculum Adoption Committee,


We are excited to come together again soon to begin reviewing and rating curriculum options.  This is where we finally get to dig in to officially start reviewing materials that will be put in front of our K-5 students in RBUSD!  It is a real honor and responsibility to be able to impact the literacy experiences of so many students, and we couldn’t ask for a more committed, thoughtful group of individuals to do this work with.


Thank you for submitting your Non Negotiable preferences and for your patience as we put together the groupings.  Each group will meet from 8:00 AM – 3:15 PM at the South Bay Adult School. As always, lunch will be provided. Please contact Lisa with any dietary requests/restrictions.


Please see below for your assigned date/time (reach out if you cannot attend so that we can assign you to a different group):


We will share more details about the agenda/structure of the day as we get closer, but in the meantime, feel free to browse the curriculum materials housed in the committee folder.


Thank you all for your continued commitment to this work,


Educational Services