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ELA/ELD Textbook Adoption

Choosing a new textbook requires a great deal of work.  Here is an example of the process we follow.

Day 7 - Program 5 Review

For the final day of the curriculum adoption process, participants reviewed materials for Program 5, intensive ELD intervention. Once again, committee members worked in teams, examined materials for evidence, and ranked each curricular program against guiding statements. The facilitators compiled the data and discussed the programs in light of the compiled scores. The group moved forward with the following recommendations: English 3D (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for adoption at the elementary and middle school levels, and iLit ELL (Pearson) for high school level intensive ELD.

Day 6 - Program 4 Review

Having completed the review of programs 2 and 3, participants spent the day conducting an in-depth review of program 4 materials, designed for intensive intervention for students who are far below grade level. After a brief overview of the process and materials, participants began their investigation of the following programs:

  • Flex Literacy (McGraw-Hill)
  • iLit (Pearson)
  • Inside/Edge (National Geographic)
  • Language! Live (Voyager Sopris)
  • Read 180 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

student studying

Based on the evidence and based on the data, the committee recommended Read 180 for adoption at the elementary and middle school levels and iLit for high school level intervention.

Day 5 - Deliberations: Programs 2 & 3

There was a palpable energy in the PDC this morning as committee participants reconvened to engage in deliberations and recommend curricular programs for adoption. Arturo set the stage for the day by revisiting the purpose for the committee and the work in which participants engaged:

person presenting

"Your recommendation goes beyond choosing a publisher, goes beyond choosing a program; it puts the 'unified' in Azusa Unified, it provides a guaranteed and viable curriculum for students, and it gets something in our hands that we can then plan around -- both horizontally and vertically -- that we can talk about, and that we can use to assess student learning.

Your recommendation today positions us and our students [to] grab something and run with it. Nothing is magic; we know that it's not the program that's going to make the difference. It's what teachers do day in and day out that makes the difference. Having this program does nothing without us coming together as a team to make this come to life."


Then it was time to reveal the data. For each level (elementary, middle, and high school), data from the rubric evaluations completed last week was displayed, absent of publisher names or level identifiers.


Participants spent time reflecting on the data for all three levels (elementary, middle, and high school) and independently noting observations on the data as well as conclusions and decisions they would make based on the data from the evaluation process.


Next, participants engaged in lively conversations around the data with their tablegroup before sharing out their group’s observations with the whole committee. Once the publishers and levels were identified, participants again had time to discuss in their table groups before the conversation moved back into a whole group discussion around the data for each level. Capturing the group’s hard work, one teacher commented, “We looked at the data. We counted evidence. We looked at the ancillary materials and dug into the support materials to do our best to find evidence in each program,” and now it was time to move forward with a recommendation. After an honest conversation around both qualitative and quantitative data, a motion was made at each level and the group came to consensus to recommend McGraw-Hill’s Reading Wonders for elementary and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s California Collections for secondary adoption.

person presenting
The day was perfectly summarized by one teacher who shared, “I trust everybody here. We went through the process, and we have the numbers.” Participants were united in the mission of engaging collaboratively in an objective process to recommend the best curriculum to help our students meet the demands of college, career, and civic life. And while that mission has been accomplished, the hard work of helping students meet the demands of the 21st century continues.

Prior to the December Board meeting, at which the School Board will consider formal adoption, there will be a two-week open viewing of the recommended programs in addition to parent/community meetings. We invite all interested parties to share your feedback and ideas.

Day 4

The third day of curriculum review resulted in a slight modification to the original agenda as teachers, already engrossed in the components of the program two materials, opted to finish the review of all program two components before transitioning to a review of program four and five materials. In light of these shifts and to allow the group to focus their attention on one program at a time, the group decided to move program two deliberations to Tuesday, November 8. As a result, the review of materials for programs four and five will be moved to Wednesday and Thursday, November 9 and 10th respectively. (Note: The revised agenda can be viewed here.)


Participants spent the day digging into the ancillary materials that augment the core program in the areas of assessment, teacher planning, universal access, and English language development supports, including the overall organization and usability of each curriculum. By the end of the day, all groups had submitted their group consensus rubrics which will be tallied in preparation for Tuesday’s deliberation process.

Day 3

Building on the solid foundation of day one, participants spent day two of the material review process delving deeper into the core program offerings. As elementary teachers explored the essential features of designated ELD, secondary teachers completed an in-depth standards trace of selected standards. All groups worked diligently to examine the how each program develops students’ knowledge and skills through the progression of the spiraling standards.

Elementary representatives examine essential features of designated ELD. 

parents reading

Participants conducting rigorous, rubric-based evaluation of programs with the support of Estella Contreras, ELA/ELD TOSA. 

Standards trace
Secondary participants navigating online components to complete a standards trace. 

Day 2

The Professional Development Center (PDC) in Azusa Unified was abuzz as the thirty-three members of the ELA/ELD Curriculum Adoption Committee reconvened to do an in-depth analysis of curricular materials for the upcoming ELA/ELD curriculum adoption.

Committee participants began the day by working collaboratively to revisit the components of The Circles on Implementation graphic, including ELA and ELD standards, key themes and shifts, and integrated and designated ELD instruction.

Over the next six days, participants will evaluate curricular materials against rubrics developed from the Adoption Toolkit  for English Language Arts/Literacy and English Language Development, published by the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. The agenda for the process, as well as the Elementary and Secondary rubrics can be viewed online.


Programs will be evaluated in the following categories:

  • Program 2: Core ELA/ELD

  • Program 3: Core Biliteracy

  • Program 4: Intensive ELA intervention for students who are two or more years below grade level in reading and writing

  • Program 5: Intensive ELD intervention, for LTELs or students who are risk of becoming LTELs

The following is a list of curricular programs being evaluated during this process:

Program 2

          Benchmark: Advance (Elementary)

          McGraw-Hill: Reading Wonders (Elementary)

                    McGraw-Hill: StudySync (Secondary)

                    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: California Collections (Secondary)

Program 3

          Benchmark: Adelante (Elementary)

          McGraw-Hill: Maravillas (Elementary)

Program 4

          Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Read 180

          McGraw-Hill: FLEX Literacy

          National Geographic: Inside/Edge

          Pearson: iLit

          Voyager Sopris: LANGUAGE! Live

Program 5

         Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: English 3D

         Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Escalate English

         Pearson: iLit ELL


Day 1 - ELA/ELD Textbook Adoption kickoff!

On April 28, the AUSD ELA/ELD textbook adoption committee participated in an initial day of learning, building context, and decision making in preparation for the textbook selection process scheduled for November of 2016. Consisting of elementary and secondary teachers and administrators from all K-12 schools, the ELA/ELD committee began the morning with a welcome, introductions, an inspirational video (watch video here), and an opening activity designed to explore shared organizational values, and fundamental beliefs and principles to guide the culture of the ELA/ELD committee collaborations. Working together, committee participants completed the day’s objectives by analyzing the Circles of Implementation of ELA/Literacy and ELD Instruction, key ELA themes and shifts, and integrated and designated ELD instruction. In addition, participants reviewed the 5 types of programs recommended by the state and considered in the adoption process:

Program 1: Core ELA

Program 2: Core ELA/ELD

Program 3: Core Biliteracy

Program 4: Intensive ELA intervention, for students who are two or more grades below in reading and writing

Program 5: Intensive ELD intervention, for LTELs or students at risk of becoming an LTEL


In order to better serve our student population, AUSD will pilot programs 2-5. Interested AUSD ELA/ELD teachers who would like to pilot Programs 2-5 are encouraged to submit a blind pilot interest form, and will be chosen on a first come, first serve basis. Piloting teachers agree to pilot a program(s) in its entirely through the end of October 2016, and provide feedback to the publisher(s) and adoption committee. In November 2016, the ELA/ELD adoption committee will reconvene for an in depth textbook review process.


The facilitators, district TOSAs, Alicia Braaksma, Diana Rojas, and Heidi Johnson; Dayna Mitchell, Director of Curriculum and Instruction; and Arturo Ortega, Assistant Superintendent of Ed Services, would like to thank the AUSD ELA/ELD textbook adoption committee for their participation and service!

Key Shifts in ELA/Literacy

The Key Shifts in ELA/Literacy are (1) regular practice with complex texts and academic language; (2) reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational; and (3) building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction. Dr. Sandra Alberti of Student Achievement Partners gives a presentation on the Shifts teachers need to make in order to implement Common Core in their classrooms.


Contact Us


Educational Services


Phone:   626-858-6182


Arturo Ortega, Interim Deputy Superintendent, Educational Services


Dayna Mitchell, Dir. of Curriculum & Instruction


Hope Valdez, Secretary