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District plays catch up with instructional materials adoptions

The Estacada School District is behind in state required curriculum adoptions, but is making an effort to catch up.

In keeping with Oregon law, Student Services Director Tina Rhue publicly spoke on the Estacada School District’s standing with the Standards for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools during the School Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

The requirements are laid out in OAR Chapter 581, Division 22. Rhue said the district is in compliance with all but two of the 55 standards.

Rhue said that this year and last year the district has been out of compliance with the instructional materials adoption and postponement of purchase of state-adopted instructional materials standards.

Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Susan Inman said the district had previously failed to adopt required materials due to budget restraints.

However, she learned while at an Education Service District meeting that other districts were similarly out of compliance because of financial restrictions.

Inman explained that the Oregon Department of Education publishes a guideline for the timeframe in which districts can adopt instructional materials in compliance with state standards.

“Districts basically have to adopt curriculum or instructional materials annually,” Inman told the school board. “Our district has failed to adopt the required instructional materials for the past four years. So we are a little behind but we are catching up.”

“Unfortunately, once we miss an adoption (we were unable to fully identify and adopt instructional materials for Social Science in 2012-13, for example) we must report that we are “out of compliance” with the state required schedule for formally adopting instructional materials,” she said later.

However, Inman said staff has found creative ways to teach even when the district is behind in materials adoption.

“The good news is that our innovative staff members have found instructional resources, short of a formal adoption process, that allow students to gain access to up-to-date materials,” she said. “In those areas where we need supplemental materials, such as ancient civilizations at the middle school level, I am working closely with staff members to implement the most cost-effective options with student achievement as the primary goal.”

Inman said the district is on track to implement English language proficiency materials by 2015 and “will work diligently to ensure we are on track for future adoptions and implementations, based on resource priorities.”

Inman added that in Oregon, the adoption of instructional materials is in a state of flux, specifically as they relate to Common Core standards.

“In order to address the challenges inherent in the instructional materials adoption timing and process, action has been taken by the Oregon State Board of Education to revise current state laws relating instructional materials with the goal to better support Oregon educators in selecting high quality student and teacher materials in all subjects,” Inman wrote in a later email.

“This new process allows districts to examine electronic and open source materials in addition to traditional print option,” she continued. “The State Board also adopted a new mathematics review criteria (and) postponed the timeline to allow for materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These criteria will support the local or regional review of available mathematics materials aligned to the CCSS.”

“Since the purchase of instructional materials is such a large investment of resources including materials as well as teacher training, Estacada School District has taken the wise stance of waiting until the requirements are in place, high quality instructional materials are available and the number of new initiatives moving forward is manageable,” Inman said.

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