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April 22, 2016

Budget Update - Curriculum Adoption Process

Eight years ago, the district implemented a district-wide curriculum adoption process. Prior to the district-wide process, every four years, a building was allocated a set amount of funding per student to support adoption of curriculum chosen by each building (CIRCLE). A smaller allocation of funding was allocated during the other three years for replacement of curriculum consumables. The annual district budget impact was close to $600,000 per year.

The first district-wide adoption occurred in 2008-09 with K-12 mathematics. Since then, the cycle has included science, social studies, secondary language arts (ELA), world language, visual/performing arts, and health and fitness.

The annual curriculum adoption process was completed this spring and addressed elementary reading/language arts (ELA).   The cost for those materials will be $2.65M.

The annual cost for a curriculum adoption can be $1.0M to $3.0M depending on the curriculum being considered for review/replacement. Another $300K per year is allocated to buildings for curriculum consumable and textbook replacement.

The district-wide curriculum adoption process has allowed consistent curriculum to be used throughout the district, with an ultimate end result to improve student learning. The consistent use of curriculum throughout the district provides a number of benefits.  It allows the district to align district level learning with district and/or state standards, to review district wide assessment data by school based on uniform curriculum materials, and to accommodate students transferring within the district so that they do not have to make a major adjustment to a different curriculum.  

Consistent curriculum also allows more efficiently coordinated and better supported district professional development efforts to be offered to all employees, with more opportunities for sharing of instructional strategies that have been found to be successful with the curriculum content.

The annual process for district-wide curriculum adoption begins in September and ends in March with a Curriculum Adoption Committee recommendation to the District Board of Directors.  The process is coordinated by the district curriculum department.

Depending on the curriculum area being reviewed, each building has representatives that participate in the process. During the recently completed ELA adoption, over 50 teachers participated in the review and selection process. Some building administrators are part of the committee along with various other district staff and parent representatives.  The committee participates in vendor presentations, reviews materials, and provides feedback on the materials under consideration. Later in the process, more community members/parents are involved. A final recommendation from the committee is then presented to the board.  The process has been refined over the years and has been working well.  The Board has always adopted the recommendation from the committee when this process has been followed.

The adoption process will begin in September for the review of the K-12 math curriculum that will be implemented in the 2017-18 school year.  The cost is projected to be about $2.0M.

Vic Roberts
Director of Business Operations

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