Elizabeth Mintie, Dianna Kresovic
Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry
Material Type:
Case Study, Module, Rubric/Scoring Guide
Middle School, High School
  • Curriculum Review
  • Curriculum Rubric
  • Edreports
  • InstructionPartners
  • Math Curriculum
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    Leverging OER to Select High-Quality Secondary Math Curricular Resources: Grafton School District's Selection Process

    Leverging OER to Select High-Quality Secondary Math Curricular Resources:  Grafton School District's Selection Process


    This module provides an overview of Grafton School District's secondary math curriculum selection process.

    Overview of Our Process

    For the past three years, the Grafton School District has worked with the Math Institute of Wisconsin to improve secondary math achievement.  Through this work, our teachers and administrators identified gaps between best practices in math instruction-- particularly in problem-solving and discourse-- and our secondary curriculuar resources.  To address these gaps, we began a curriculum review process for grades 6-11 during the fall of the 2019-2020 school year.

    We used EdReports to ground our selection and decision-making process on research-based priorities; however, knowing that the implementation process is as important as the actual resource selection, we also relied heavily on Instruction Partners' Curriculum Support Guide to ensure we considered factors such as vision/beliefs about mathematics instruction, buy-in, professional development needs, and stakeholder communication.

    The following modules contain samples and templates of the documents we adapted from EdReports and The Curriculum Support GuideThe Curriculum Support Guide includes three phases:  Phase I. Select Great Materials, Phase II. Prepare to Launch, and Phase III. Teach and Learn.  At this point, we have completed Phase I  and are currently working through Phase II.  This module includes artifacts and templates from our experience with Phase I.  We will continue our work with Phase II during the rest of the school year and over the summer, and we will enter Phase III next year when we implement our new curriculum.

    We hope our process and the artifacts included in these modules are helpful to you and your team as you launch your own curriculum review process.

    The Grafton School District 6-11 Math Curriculum Selection Team

    Lindsay Charles, Grafton High School Special Education Teacher
    Kevin Deering, John Long Middle School Principal
    Nicki Gruebling, Grafton High School Math Teacher
    Jennifer Griffith, Digital Information and Media Specialist
    Scott Mantei, Grafton High School Principal
    Elizabeth Mintie, College and Career Instructional Specialist
    Natalie Moeschburger, Grafton High School Math Teacher
    Dianna Kresovic, Director of Teaching and Learning
    Jennifer Reeves, John Long Middle School Math Teacher
    Sarah Stanislawski, John Long Middle School Math Teacher
    Graham Taylor, John Long Middle School Math Teacher

    Key Action I.1: Plan Your Process

    The goal of this key action is to plan the selection process (Guiding Questions and Resources from Instruction Partners)

    I.1.A- Identify the Selection Committee & I.1.D- Form the Review Committee 

    Since we are a smaller district, it made sense for our Selection Team to double as our Review Committee.  Our requirements for the Selection Team were as follows:

    • One teacher representative from each grade level (chosen by the math PLC)
    • One special education teacher representative (chosen by the math PLC with special education department input)
    • Middle school principal
    • High school principal
    • Instructional coach
    • Technology coach
    • Director of Teaching and Learning (team leader)

    The Selection Team set the following expectations/norms at the first meeting:

    • Be willing to ask the tough questions
    • Critically consider all options
    • Look from multiple lenses (i.e., K-12, all learners)
    • Present data with all options
    • Be respectful of all perspectives
    • Commit to making your voice heard
    • Leave the meeting with clear next steps
    • Trust the team--present a united voice when reporting out
    • Decisions are always focused on what is best for students.

    I.1.B-Determine how the final decision will be made.

    After considering our process for Board approval, professional development needs, and funding timelines, we determined that we must select our resource no later than February.  We decided to use site visits rather than pilots both because piloting would push back our timeline and because piloting would result in students with different curricular experiences moving forward.

    Our team adapted the following definition of consensus from Richard DuFour, which we agreed to use to guide our final decision, as well as any smaller decisions that needed to be made along the way:  

    • Consensus asks all participants to consider and eventually affirm three points
      • My voice has been heard
      • I understand the proposal
      • It's clear to me that the will of the group as emerged around this proposal
    • Additionally, two standards must be met to move forward when a decision is made by consensus
      • All points of view have been actively heard and solicited
      • The will of the group is evident even to those who most oppose it

    We also discussed bias and how identifying one's own bias and sharing it helps one overcome that bias as part of the consensus process. All team members identified their own biases (after the facilitator modeled).  Team members then shared their biases with a partner, discussed strategies to overcome bias, and shared with the whole group. 


    I.1.C- Map the Schedule of Events

    At the beginning of the school year we developed this meeting schedule to communicate full department, Selection Team, and specific subcommittee meetings.  Here is a blank template that can be adapted for your district's use.

    Our completed agendas for meetings are also included here to help you see the steps we took and the work we completed at each meeting:  September 26, October 22, October 31, December 10, January 9, February 12, February 18

    I.1.D- Organize the Next Steps and Communicate the Plan

    Our Selection Team committed to communicating information and decisions at the first department collaboration session following each Selection Team meeting.  To ensure consistent information delivery, we committed to use the last portion of each Selection Team meeting to develop talking points and clarify messaging.  We developed an FAQ document that any teacher could add questions to at any point.


    Key Action I.2: Establish the Vision

    The goal of this key action is to ensure the Selection Team understands the math standards, including the Standards for Mathematical Practices, and to develop a shared vision of effective math instruction for all students (Guiding Questions and Resources from Instruction Partners).

    I.2.A- Train the Selection Team and Review Committee

    The Selection Team's learning built off of the foundation established from 2+ years of collaboration with Sara Brown from the Mathematics Institute of Wisconsin.  Our work with Sara focused on the shifts in teaching required to implement the Common Core State Standards, especially the Standards of Mathematical Practice.  In addition to these professional development sessions, our Selection Team also used the following resources to ensure we had a strong understanding of the standards:

    • Smith, M. S., Steele, M. D., & Raith, M. L. (2017). Taking action: Implementing effective mathematics teaching practices in grades 6-8. Reston, VA: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

    • Smith, M. S., Steele, M. D., & Raith, M. L. (2017). Taking action: Implementing effective mathematics teaching practices in grades 9-12. Reston, VA: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

    • Leinwand, S. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


    I.2.B- Articulate the Vision of Instruction and Core Beliefs

    The Selection Team reviewed key research from the sources listed above and examined the 4K-5 Instructional Practices document created in a previous curriculum review cycle by the Elementary Selection Team.  We wanted to ensure that our vison and core beliefs were aligned to the vision and beliefs that guide our district's elementary mathematics instruction to ensure a seamless progression for students.

    After reviewing these documents, our Selection Team identified our Core Beliefs, Desired Teacher & Student Practices, and Curriculum Resource Needs/Wants.  These are outlined in our Instructional Practices in Mathematics document.  This document drove our priorities for the rest of the review process, and we refrenced it during the development of our rubric, during our site visit debriefs, and during our review of each curriculum.

    After we shared our Core Beliefs & Priorities with the full math department, all math teachers in grades 6-12 completed a survey evaluating current teacher and student engagement in the priorities identified and indicated how much support they would like to have for each priority moving forward.


    Key Action I.3: Develop the Rubric and Prepare for Reviews

    The goal of this key action is to determine the final rubric, identify which resources will be reviewed, and train/prepare the committee to conduct reviews.

    1.3.B.-Develop the Rubric

    We followed the same process to develop our math curriculum rubric that our district committees have followed to develop rubrics for other subject areas/grade levels.  This process is outlined below:

    1)  The Selection Team spends time learning about the Gateways, Review Tools, and Evidence Guides for the appropriate subject and grade level

    2)  The Selection Team uses the appropriate EdReports review tool as a starting point to develop the first draft of our rubric.  The team then looks for alignment between the existing rurbic and the Core Beliefs/ Priorities developed in Key Action I.2 and adds/removes/revises as necessary

    3)  The Selection Team brings the draft rubric to stakeholders for feedback and revises as necessary

    Because we merged out Selection Team and Review committee, this process also embeds steps 1.3.A- Solicit Stakeholder Input and 1.3.D-Train the Review Committee on the Rubric and Process.

    Resources we used from EdReports to train and familiarize our team members include The EdReports Process, Understanding Gateways, Math K-8 Evidence Guides, Math K-8 Quality Tools (Rubric).

    Here is a template of the 6-12 Mathematics Text/Materials Evaluation Tool (rubric) our team developed during this step.

    1.3.C.-Identify the Options You Will Review

    The Selection Team used EdReports to narrow our review to three potential resources:  College Preperatory Mathematics (CPM), Illustrative Mathematics (IM), and Envision.  These met our minimum requirements, which were that the resource is available for 6th grade through Algebra II and has "green" reviews on EdReports for both 6-8 and Algebra-Geometry-Algebra II.

    Once the team narrowed to three resources, we identified districts in our geographic area using each resource and reached out to arrange site visits and opportunities for our committee to connect with teachers in those districts.  We were also able to create a timeline for site visits, follow-up meetings, and reporting to teams. 

    Key Action I.4: Review, Pilot, and Decide

    The goal of this key action is to select the best resource to serve the instructional vision and communicate the decision to stakeholders.

    1.4.A-Conduct Reviews and Gather Feedback

    During this step our Selection Team received trial licenses for online materials and physical copies of textbooks/ workbooks for College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM), Illustrative Mathematics (IM) and Envision.  Representatives from CPM and Pearson (publisher of Envision) gave live overviews of their resources, and Sara Brown from the Mathematics Institute of Wisconsin delivered an on-site preview of IM's middle school and high school offerings.

    After the presentations, our team conducted an in-depth reading of the EdReports for our three potential resources.  We paid careful attention to the narrative information, including the narrative comments for unscored areas in Gateway 3.  Based on this review, we eliminated Envision because its task rigor and usability did not align with our Core Beliefs and priorities.

    We scheduled and conducted site visits to neighboring districts using IM and CPM.  Before the visits, we compiled our quesitons to create note documents to focus our conversations with teachers.  We also visited 4th and 5th grade math classes to observe lessons in our elementary curriculum, Bridges, as we wanted to ensure our selection supported the structured investigation and open-exploration problem-solving our students are experiencing in the elementary classrooms.

    We had remaining questions after our visit to see IM in action, so we brought Sara Brown back to answer additional questions about IM and to model IM lessons in a high school classroom within our district.

    1.4.C- Make the Final Selection Decision

    When the Selection Team was ready to score the materials, each member of the selection committee scored each resource independently, then we came together, compared scores, and came to consensus.  We followed this protocol from Instruction Partners.  Our consensus-scored, completed rubrics are viewable here:  CPM completed rubric sample, IM completed rubric sample.  Although both resources scored well, our Selection Team clearly saw that IM aligned more closely to our Core Beliefs and priorities for mathematical resources, so we made the decision to adopt IM for 6th grade-Algebra II beginning the 2020-21 school year.

    Our Selection Team did not feel it was necessary or prudent to pilot these resources (step 1.4.B) because we were able to visit schools using the resources and have in-depth communication with students, teachers, coaches, and administrators.  From these conversations, we were able to identify strengths and weaknesses of each curriculum and determine potential trouble spots/ struggles with implementation without creating uneven experiences for our students.  We were concerned that piloting one or more resources would ultimately lead to gaps and differences in readiness that would not serve students well the following year, especially since we are such a small district.

    1.4.D- Communicate the Decision and Rationale

    Our Selection Team decided it was important for all teachers to hear the decision at the same time, so Selection Team members announced the decision and rationale at an upcoming 6-12 professional development day.  All teachers had the opportunity to review the completed rubrics, and we created an FAQ document for teachers to post questions Selection Committee members were not prepared to answer at that time.  We used this Internal Department Communication Plan document to ensure all member of the math department, coaches, and administrators received the same message.

    Selection Team representatives from the middle and high school shared the decision and rationale with our school board at a Curriculum Committee meeting.  This information was later shared at a full Board meeting.  We used this Board Curriculum Committee Communication document to communicate to our Board and public stakeholders.



    Phase II: Documents in Progress

    Soon after our Selection Team decided to adopt Illustrative Mathematics, our district transitioned to virtual education due to the spread of Covid-19.  This delayed our work in Phase II, but in May we were able to resume work through weekly virtual meetings.  Our agenda for these meetings is still in progress but is viewable here.

    Our Implementation Plan is viewable as a draft below.  We look forward to sharing the rest of our process through Phase II and Phase III.