May 13, 2016
 Our Vision: Ignite Passion. Inspire Excellence. Imagine Possibilities.

Dear District 41 Community,

At the Board of Education meeting on Monday evening, a new curriculum for math and a new curriculum resource for literacy were approved. Prior to this approval, the teachers, led by Karen Carlson, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Accountability, presented detailed information to the Board about the benefits and the positive impacts these new resources would have on teaching and learning.

Over the past couple of years, teachers have requested a more intentional resource for math and literacy. Karen and the coaches created a process to select the new curriculum resource, a literacy task force and a math task force were then convened to evaluate the different options. Literacy and math teachers from all the buildings and at each grade level field tested the resources to help make the best decision for our district. The new curriculum resources will be used by the teachers and students beginning next school year.

Units of Student in Opinion, Information and Narrative Writing by Lucy Calkins for kindergarten through 8th grade and Units of Study for Teaching Reading for kindergarten through 5th grade were selected and approved by the Board of Education on Monday, May 9. The current literacy teaching practices in District 41 are already influenced by Calkins' work, which makes this the ideal resource to support our teachers. Below are some of the important factors from Lucy Calkins that influenced this recommendation for our district:

  • Builds foundational reading skills and strategies
  • Supports the teaching of interpretation, synthesis, and main idea
  • Supports inquiry and collaboration
  • Supports teaching points, minilessons, conferences, and small-group work needed to teach a comprehensive workshop curriculum
  • Focus on opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing with increasing complexity and sophistication
  • Fosters high-level thinking, including regular chances to synthesize, analyze, and critique
  • Develops and refine strategies for writing across the curriculum
  • Supports greater independence and fluency through intensive writing opportunities

Eureka Math curriculum was recommended and approved by the Board of Education on Monday, May 9 for kindergarten through 5th grade. Eureka Math was developed specifically to meet the Common Core Math Standards, which were adopted by the State of Illinois., an independent non-profit that reviews curricula, gives Eureka Math the highest ratings in all categories (focus/coherence, rigor, and usability in the classroom). Eureka Math builds students knowledge logically and thoroughly to achieve deep mathematical understanding. Below are some of the important factors from Eureka Math that influenced the recommendation.
  • Comprehensive K-5 resource that emphasizes the three major shifts (focus, rigor, and coherence) of the Common Core.
  • Mathematical practices and fluency are embedded in the curriculum.
  • Emphasizes conceptual understanding of math before procedural knowledge/conventions.
  • Highly rated by D41 teachers who field tested Eureka Math using the Equip Rubric, Alignment Criteria Rubric, and Perception Survey.
In addition to the curriculum nights at all of the schools, there will be additional opportunities for parents to learn more about this curriculum in each of the schools at the beginning of the school year in the fall.

The district will provide training for teachers in May and throughout the 2016/2017 school year. We will monitor MAP data, PARCC data, as well as common assessments to determine the impact of the resources over the course of the next five years.

We are excited about this opportunity to further support our teachers. If you have any questions, please contact your building principal.

Paul Gordon

Please direct your questions or comments about E-News to District 41 Chief Communications Officer Erika Krehbiel, We ask that you do not reply directly to this email because such replies are not received and so cannot be answered. Thank you!