Amanda Killeen
Elementary Education
Material Type:
Curriculum Map
Lower Primary, Upper Primary
  • CKLA
  • Curriculum
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Implementing a High Quality Curriculum Resource - CKLA

    Implementing a High Quality Curriculum Resource - CKLA


    As we begin to dive into the power of high quality instruciotnal materials (HQIM), our district needed a focused plan to support teachers with a science of reading algined curriculum. The outlined plan and attached resources share with viewers the study behind a shift in reading instruction at our school, the curriculum choosing process, and finally the implementation plan. 

    Implementing a HQR for ELA - CKLA K-5

    North Crawford Elementary spent the 20-21 and 21-22 school years committing to learning and using the high quality instructional materials aligned to the Science of Reading. Through the process we learned about the why behind our shift in literacy instruction, created our vision of literacy success, adopted a curriculum, and then continued to build on our foundational knowledge to best support our implementation. 

    Exploring the Why - Literacy Team Summer Learning


    Literacy Curriculum Team Overview


    • Receive training on academic standards
    • Learn about the curricula
    • Use feedback to make a list of key criteria for selection
    • Create a rubric based on the key criteria to objectively evaluate each potential curriculum
    • Vet curricula through publisher presentations
    • Provide feedback and make final suggestion to selection team
    • Meet after school 3:40-5:00 four times during the year, possible 2-3 release days


    Selection Team LeaderManages the overall review and selection of materials, including management and coordination of the Selection Team and Review Committee
    Selection TeamReview Committee
    Purpose: Responsible for designing and managing the selection process, including review of materials  to present recommendation to the school boardWho: Killeen, Munson*, Beinborn, PresserPurpose: Conducts a review of the materials and provides input / recommendation to the Selection TeamWho: Killeen,Klema,Wedeberg, Haefer, Beinborn, Ottaway, Page, Presser, Bearrows, Bransky


    Summer 2020

    Goal: Building Background Knowledge on Research of Best Practices in ELA (summer curriculum pay of $100 for completing the following)

    • Develop vision & core beliefs guiding selection
    • Establish working agreements
    • Review major features of review process
    • Develop vision & core beliefs guiding selection
    • Generate input for rubric development

    Fall / Winter 2020

    • 1 Release Day for Overview of all three programs from Vendors?
    • Teacher research programs and work on graphic organizer of learning
    • Pilot Units from different programs

    Curriculum Vendor Review Day

    North Crawford Elementary

    Curriculum Review Day


    Our literacy committee will be participating in a day long review of curriculum for adoption during the 2021-2022 school year. We are utilizing the framework workbook as a part of our review process.


    Staff will be taking notes on the following document:

    Handout Curriculum Study Notes Master


    Major Questions that we would like to have addressed are:

    • How does your curriculum align with the science of reading?
    • What time allocations does it require?
    • Describe the use of authentic texts?
    • Explain how the literacy minutes are used (ex: writing, reading, etc)?
    • What types of embedded assessments are part of the curriculum?



    Time Slot Curriculum Company Zoom Link
    9:15-10:15Dan Lindsay, EL Education
    10:35-11:35Dan Lindsay, Bookworms
    12:30-1:30Olivia Flory Burgher-- Wit & Wisdom from Great Minds
    1:35-2:35Kevin Mauser Amplify CKLA 


    Review Rubric Used


    Curriculum Study Notes


    Curriculum Structure
    QuestionsELBookworms Wit & Wisdom CKLA
    Unit Structure: How are the units or materials structured and organized?     
    Lesson Structure: How are lessons structured?    
    Instructional Minutes: What are the requirements for instructional minutes to implement this curriculum? How much time is required for assessment?     
     ELBookworms Wit & Wisdom CKLA
    Standards:  How are the standards integrated and/or used within the curriculum? Scope and Sequence     
    Embedded Tools: What are all of the tools (i.e. differentiation guides, supplements, etc.) included with the materials? *Can we see some sample pages etc. *Teacher manuals?     
    Writing: What does your writing instruction entail?     









    Use Guidance
    QuestionsELBookworms Wit & Wisdom CKLA
    Use Guidance: What components of the materials are considered essential to effective implementation?   What are the “must-dos” within the materials?     
    Assessment Plan: What types of assessments are included in the curriculum?What resources are provided to support teachers to understand what proficiency looks like on the assessments?     
     ELBookworms Wit & Wisdom CKLA
    Instructional Coherence: How do the materials connect to existing instructional practices and/or initiatives?    
    Unit and Lesson Guidance:  What aspects of the curriculum should be used in a consistent way across classrooms?     
    Unit and Lesson Preparation: What guidance does the curriculum developer offer about planning routines and customizations?PD offered?     




    Board Proposal - CKLA, including our literacy vision statement


    North Crawford Elementary School

    Literacy Curriculum Committee

    CKLA Curriculum Adoption Proposal


    North Crawford Elementary School is seeking to adopt a new ELA curriculum for the 2021-2022 school year. In this proposal you will find an outline of why the adoption is needed, the process in which the team came to this conclusion, research regarding the curriculum, and teacher feedback.

    Why a new curriculum?

      We know that our community is a special place, and that we have established a warm and joyful culture for students, teachers, and families. The work we do is challenging and ever evolving, so it is critical to sometimes step back and take stock of where we are and where we want to go. Our goal is to provide the best possible learning experience for all of our students, and we know we still have work to do to improve student success across all grades. We believe that strong curriculum and instructional materials are a key component to our approach to ensure all students are successful, and we’ve heard from teachers, leaders, and families that there is a desire for higher quality materials that can better support our students.

     Over the last three years, our staff has taken a targeted approach to identifying students in need of additional literacy support. Historically, the number of students not making adequate gains through tier one instruction has been greater than what our RTI system can support. The data from Forward, Star, and now Fastbridge indicate that our students are not reaching a level of proficiency that leads to long term reading success.  

               The current ELA curriculum, Journeys was adopted in the 2017-2018 school year. Since the adoption, a non-profit panel of educational researchers have begun a review process for curriculums. Journeys does not meet the expectations of alignment (report). Our teachers are finding they need to supplement greatly to make the materials usable, which has a dramatic impact on the resource of time as well as longitudinal alignment.  

    In summary, we are moving forward with a recommendation for new ELA curriculum because:


    • We believe curriculum and instructional materials are a key component to making sure all students are successful within our schools and system.
    • Stronger instructional materials can help get students excited to learn and be more invested in their instruction.
    • Effective instructional materials can make teaching more sustainable for teachers by providing them with the resources they need for instruction and lessen the amount of time required to plan each lesson.

    Selection Process


       The Literacy Curriculum Committee has 7 educators and 1 principal as representatives (Beinborn, Bearrows, Bransky, Ottaway, Page, Wedeberg, Haefer, Klema, Killeen). The team consists of teaching staff across grade levels, experience levels, and roles. We began this process in the spring of 2020. The team did a deep dive into modern research and educational shifts so that we could ground our decision making process. We completed a book study on The Knowledge Gap as well an extensive review of educational research articles and journals. The team used this knowledge to create a vision statement (appendix A) in which the curriculum was reviewed against.

       We put together a set of selection criteria to objectively evaluate each of our options and make an informed decision.  Our selection criteria included the alignment of the materials to the standards and our instructional vision, the usability of the materials for teachers, how the materials differentiated for English language learners and students with IEPs, among several other criteria, like cost, effectiveness in other schools, and training implications. We believe the criteria we used enabled us to implement a rigorous selection process to find the best curriculum for our students.

       To select a curriculum for recommendation, we developed a set of selection criteria that we used to evaluate each of our options. The Selection Team went through a process of training, piloting lessons, talking with teachers, and reviewing the materials to ensure that we chose the right materials for teachers and students. Ultimately, each Selection Team member voted on which curriculum they thought would best meet our needs, and we selected the curriculum that the majority of people chose.

    In summary:

    • We believe the decision about what materials we use is critically important and has broad implications for our students, teachers, and schools.
    • We developed a rigorous selection process to help us make this important decision and ensure that we took the time to consider all of our options.
    • A Selection Team composed of teachers, parents, and administrators worked together to develop selection criteria, review the options, try out the options to see  what worked, and came together to make a decision about which materials best met our needs.


     Curriculum Recommendation

      We are excited to announce that we will be proposing the adoption of CKLA curriculum in ELA and for the 2021-2022 school year. Because we had a chance to gather input from teachers and students, we believe that these curricular choices will be the best fit for our unique community.  CKLA is grounded in the beliefs in which we mapped out in our vision statement. Students will have explicit phonics /foundation skills instruction, exposure to a wide range of topics in the background knowledge building component, and opportunities for all students to engage in grade level materials. CKLA ensures that our students are being challenged to engage with complex texts, while still ensuring that they are seeing our population represented in those texts. Our ELA curriculum puts a premium on integrating science, history, and the arts within the ELA block.

    CKLA EdReports Findings

    Amplify CKLA has received a green light rating from EdReports for all grade levels. It is currently the only curriculum to also have a green rating on their skills (phonemic awareness / phonics) section.  Selections  from the report can be found below:


    “The materials for K-2 include strong foundational skills to support young students' reading development as they move from learning how to read to comprehending complex texts. Support for teachers to attend to the critical need of foundational skills is explicit and comprehensive, providing guidance and targeted instruction. The texts included with the materials are rich and rigorous, offering students a balance of informational and literary reading over the course of the school year. Materials provide many opportunities for students to complete questions and tasks in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are grounded in evidence.”


    Core Knowledge Language Arts Grades 3, 4, and 5 instructional materials meet the expectations of alignment. Texts are of quality and are consistently and appropriately complex. Texts are organized and supported with questions and tasks to support students’ growing literacy skills. These questions and tasks build students’ knowledge on topics while engaging them in academic vocabulary practice. Writing instruction over the course of the school year is consistent and organized to support students’ development of different types of writing as outlined in the standards. Through on-demand and process writing activities and tasks, students build stamina and learn techniques to improve writing. The Grade 5 materials fully meet the expectations of Gateway 2, as they consistently engage students in studying ideas within and among texts as they work with rich academic vocabulary practice and build knowledge and literacy skills.

    In Summary:

    • CKLA aligns to our vision for instruction of providing students a content rich literacy curriculum that is grounded in the Science of Reading.
    • Is one of the top-rated set of materials on EdReports, an organization of teacher experts who evaluate curriculum for their alignment to the standards and their usability.
    • Was highly effective in our initial pilot of the materials and we saw high levels of student engagement and interest in the lessons and overall instructional materials.  




     Teacher Feedback

    Included in the report is feedback from staff on why the CKLA curriculum was selected:

    As a reading teacher, I am excited that it touches on all of the basics of reading development; phonological awareness, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary and does so in a real-world application with such rich content knowledge. Having worked with the middle school, I see that some of the skills the teachers feel are still a struggle for some students are really hit hard in CKLA, in a very integrated way. I have taught some of the CKLA lessons in first grade and they are structured and predictable, yet lend themselves to adaptation and differentiation for different teaching styles as well as different learning styles! They thread through the grades nicely which will make collaboration and vertical alignment much more fluid among elementary and middle school grades.
    I loved the variety of high interest topics and the mixture of digital components.  CKLA seems laid out in a manner that will be straightforward to pick up as a new curriculum and follow with fidelity.  
    I am really looking forward to implementing CKLA for our reading curriculum for a number of different reasons. I have learned through our research and have seen this in my own teaching as well, how truly important explicit, systematic phonics instruction is in learning how to read.  With teaching first grade, it is so important to set the groundwork for a strong foundation of reading while also instilling a love for reading.  CKLA will do both of these things.  I have been piloting CKLA this past year and the phonics instruction it provides, is better than I have ever used and it is laid out in a way that is easy for teachers to teach while also being aligned to the research we have learned in how phonics should be taught. The other major piece of reading is building student background knowledge and vocabulary and CKLA does this in a very engaging way. The students have really enjoyed the topics that we have been learning about including fairy tales and folktales, the human body, and even Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.  I have been blown away by the vocabulary that students are using and able to understand.  It can be challenging at times, but students are able to have success through the teachers doing the reading of these texts and then engaging in discussion as a whole class.  As a teacher it will be wonderful having CKLA as our reading curriculum knowing that it has the green light by Edreports and will provide my students with the reading instruction they need to become successful readers along with providing me as a teacher the materials and guidance I need to be the best reading teacher I can be.
    In all my years of teaching,  I am finding that the systematic approach to teaching phonemic awareness and phonics in CKLA is the best I have ever used.  On the whole,the students are printing their letters correctly because of the explicit language used to describe how they are written.  I was especially impressed that we started the year practicing making lines and circles, etc that are components of letters before jumping into writing letters.   The twelve listening and learning domains covered in CKLA are giving my students in-depth knowledge and vocabulary.  I have  learned new things I did not know about the topics we have covered.
    Student and teacher access to high quality curriculum will be a game changer for our Elementary. In observing pilot lessons of CKLA, I have been blown away. Students are learning foundational skills through direct, systematic instruction. They get the opportunity to learn about the world around them through rich, engaging lessons. Research overwhelmingly notes that exposure to background building experiences has an exponential impact on future reading success. CKLA provides teachers with the resources to create these meaningful learning experiences for our students. I am looking forward to coming together as a school community to engage all students, staff, and families in literacy learning for all with CKLA.
    Educational Researchers / Feedback from Teachers currently using the curriculum:
    Jared Myracle is currently the Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation at NIET. Previously, Jared served as the CAO in Jackson-Madison County Schools.Article about his experience LINKCurriculum is the solution I look to, because it’s the best way to align school and district teams around instructional goals quickly. In my district, we talk a lot about ensuring we have the right “what” and an effective “how,” meaning that we need a strong curriculum and we must teach it effectively. One without the other won’t get you very far. But one of the easiest and most cost-effective boxes a district leader can check is that of ensuring high-quality materials are in every classroom in the district.
    Robin McClellan serves as Supervisor of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction for Sullivan County Schools.Article about her district’s growth experience LINKWhen I heard I was using a scripted program, I was scared...very scared. Planning is one of my favorite aspects of teaching. I thought I would lose my individuality. CKLA proved me wrong! The units allow teachers to contribute their unique spin on pausing point days and in culminating activities. For example, one of my favorite stories is The Great Kapok Tree. This was also a suggested book by CKLA during our unit on plants. On our pausing point day, I shared this story with my students and discussed the importance of caring for our environment. During our unit on Colonial Towns, we learn about tailors and dressmakers. Students bartered for a square of fabric and helped sew two squares together to make a class blanket. This was great fun and they were using vocabulary from the unit. I didn’t change the curriculum, I only enhanced it on days that were built in for teacher creativity.”
    Karen Viates - Curriculum Researcher, Equity AdvocateCKLA is a highly regarded curriculum aligned to the Science of Reading.


    Implementation Next Steps

    We know that quality instructional materials are just one component to good instruction, and we still have work to do to plan for an effective implementation of the materials. At this stage, we are beginning to develop our implementation plan in coordination with the implementation team. We want to make sure we have a strong plan that sets everyone up for success, but have not made any decisions yet about what this will look like.  We are committed to ongoing, regular communication with everyone, and you can expect that there will be more information, training, and resources forthcoming as we develop the implementation plan for the curriculum.

    In Summary:

    • Our goal is to provide regular updates and communication to all stakeholders throughout the process and we wanted to announce this key milestone in our process.
    • We know that the selection of quality instructional materials is just one component of good instruction, and we still have a lot of work to do to plan for an effective implementation of the materials.
    • You can expect that there will be more information, training, and resources forthcoming as we develop our implementation plan for the curriculum.  You can expect more information after formal board approval.









     Financial Information

    Quote Here for Initial Cost

    Classroom Sets & Trade Books for Classroom Teachers$39,718
    Cost for Teacher’s Editions for RTI$10,194
    Cost for Teacher’s Editions for Special Education$10,194
    Cost for Professional Development$3,900
    Cost for Shipping and Handling$4,808



    Workbooks are sold in sets of 25, and cost $950. Most years, we will likely need a set for each grade level with some carry over extras (receiving 50 per grade level with initial purchase). Making the estimated yearly commitment around $5,700. The district will be saving funds in the items we are purchasing yearly  to supplement the current curriculum. Spelling workbooks, handwriting workbooks, and other resources will be added back into the budget as the program encompasses these components.

    Initial purchase includes 6 years of digital access






    Appendix A

















    Appendix B

    Key Points Research Resources
    Instructional materials are a key component to making sure all students are successful.Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core The Opportunity Myth
    We ask our teachers to engage in a herculean task every day and want to make their work more sustainable.Failing by design: How we make teaching too hard for mere mortals
    Instructional materials have been shown to improve student achievement by providing students with access to more rigorous and aligned instruction.Simplifying Teaching: A Field Experiment with ‘Off the Shelf’ Lessons Big bang for just a few bucks: The impact of math textbooks in California
    Strong instructional materials paired with embedded professional learning for teachers can lead to sustained improvement for students.What We Teach Matters


    Implementation Training

    After two trainings through the curriculum company, it became clear that what our staff needed was both time and background knowledge. We used our grant to complete two trainings through the reading leauge on phonics, purchased subscriptions to Keys to Literacy and Big Dippers Training, bought a large number of books for our staff on topics aligned to SOR, and offered them paid time over the summer to work on what they needed to be successful. 




    Teachers are as unique as our students are when it comes to learning needs. Therefore, we will be offering summer learning that is choice based for all of you. Each teacher will have the option to complete two options on the chart below for a $275 stipend. These will be from home, flexible, however they fit into your summer schedule. Perhaps it is broken apart during your morning coffee at the lake or a rainy day plan. We trust you as professionals to do what you feel is best for students.


    $275 for 8 hours of study / work ~ coming in at just over $34 dollars an hour.


    You may wish to do one or two of the choices based on the amount of time it takes you. During inservice week, we will have a session dedicated to sharing out with others / collaborating around what we learned. Below you will find a reflection page that will guide our discussions. It may be helpful to complete this beforehand for each box you complete so that you can remember the key points.



    Explore the Resources / Videos on Science of Reading 101 (Tik Tok Teacher) .Spend time reading each of the chapter overviews and teacher information for the units of CKLA. Mark up those manuals, what is important, what do you wonder? Pick one unit to dig into further. Use a backwards design lens to lay out the unit with consideration to each strand of literacy. Jamie can support with examples from other grade levels and templates to help with this work and ensure assessment if used effectively and efficiently.Complete a Reading Rockets Course on the following Subtopics. (Pre-Test, In Depth, In Practice, Assignments, Post-Test) Topics Include:Print AwarenessPhonological and Phonemic AwarenessPhonicsFluencyVocabularySpellingComprehension WritingAssessment
    Keys to Literacy Trainings -Keys to Beginning Reading (overall 101 of structured reading) - Keys to Content Writing (upper grades)Select and read one of the books from the shelf in the copy room that were purchased. Have a title you wish we had - reach out? Examples include:The Knowledge Gap, Know Better Do Better, Equipped for Reading Success, Speech to Print, etc.You pick! Reach out to Jamie or Amanda to talk through what you were thinking!


    Resource I dug into:



    Biggest takeaways:







    My new questions after learning:







    How does this learning relate to our work with students during our CKLA time and / or WIN? How can I use this learning with students: