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Renton School District

Instructional Materials Pilot and Review

The following pilots and reviews are happening in the Renton School District during the 2019-2020 school year

Instructional Materials Pilot and Review

K-5 Science

K-5 Science Instructional Materials Review

Purpose: Year-long review, pilot, and evaluation K-5 instructional materials in science in order to recommend a program the best matches RSD’s needs and values.

October 1:

Who: A diverse group of K-5 teachers (9 classroom teachers, 1 digital learning coach, 1 instructional coach)

  • Compare sample rubrics to determine essential criteria to collect evidence about during the pilot
  • Come to consensus on which criteria to include in our rubric and the rating system we will use
  • Consider quality evidence characteristics
  • Practice recording evidence from the first few Amplify lessons that will be taught
  • Plan logistics for teaching and supporting PLCs during pilot

Participants combined quality characteristics from the sample rubrics and determined that we will collect evidence in the following categories: Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 3-Dimensional Design, Effective Practice/Student Engagement, Usability/Instructional Supports, Assessment, Differentiation, and Equity/Bias. Participants became comfortable with evidence collection and gained familiarity with the Amplify materials and first.

Next Steps:

All pilot teachers will get a 2-hour training from Amplify Oct 15 and teach a unit from Oct-Dec.

  • Instructional Materials Committee members will collect evidence throughout the pilot
  • Pilot teachers will share their students’ and their own feedback throughout the pilot
  • District facilitator and coaches will collect evidence via walk throughs throughout pilot

The Instructional Materials Review Committee will meet again January 9 to come to consensus on their scores for Amplify and plan for teaching the Smithsonian unit.

September 17:

Who: A diverse group of K-5 teachers (9 classroom teachers, 1 digital learning coach)

  • Review screening tool
  • Screen 5 science programs: FOSS, STEM Scopes, TCI, Amplify, and Smithsonian
  • 15 min: become familiar with program resources and organization
  • 45 min: Scan a unit and record evidence on screening tool
  • Come to consensus on scoring and ranking programs
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of each program
  • Vote on programs to pilot

Participants nearly unanimously concluded that the 2 strongest programs were Amplify and Smithsonian. Pilot teachers will pilot Amplify in the fall and Smithsonian in the winter (The 1st and 2nd grade Smithsonian materials are still being developed and the units won’t be ready until January).

Next Steps:

We will meet October 1 to develop a rubric for collecting evidence during the pilot and practice collecting evidence from the Amplify unit teachers will be piloting October-December.

September 10:
Who: 6 of the K-5 teachers on the Instructional Materials Review Committee who will be piloting
  • Practice using the screening tool we developed last session
  • Preview screening process for next session
  • Make adaptations to screening tool and process based on our experience with the tool
  • Finalize programs to screen

Participants became comfortable with using the screening tool efficiently to scan and evaluate materials and provided input on the screening process for next session.

Next Steps:

We will meet on September 17 to screen instructional materials from 5 quality K-5 science programs to determine which two to pilot this year.


August 12, 13, 14:

Who: A diverse group of K-5 teachers representing all 3 hills in the Renton School District (10 classroom teachers, 1 SpEd teacher, 1 instructional coach, 1 assistant principal)

  • Build a common understanding of Next Generation Science Standards and its innovations
  • Gain a basic understanding of research-based best instructional practice in science
  • Discuss what equitable science teaching and learning looks like, sounds like, and feels like in the classroom
  • Define roles and expectations, norms, and a consensus model for the pilot process 
  • Determine priority screening criteria and develop a screening tool for evaluating instructional materials that addresses standards alignment and district priorities

Participants gained understanding of what to look for in instructional materials and confidence in their ability to make an informed decision about which materials best meet the criteria in Renton School District’s board policy.

Next Steps:

We will meet again on September 10 to calibrate with the screening tool we developed

High School ELA


The HS ELA instructional Materials Committee met for two full days on October 30th and November 4th.  Two district facilitators and 9 teachers (representing grades 9-12, the 3 comprehensive high schools and 2 alternative high schools) attended.  The purpose of this time was to evaluate potential curricula using Equip rubric, equity screening tool and district priorities. StudySync and Inquiry By Design were chosen to move forward in the piloting process.  StudySync leverages technology to provide both explicit instruction in skills and opportunities for students to practice in authentic ways that moves students towards standards mastery.  Inquiry by Design gives students extensive opportunities to collaborate and go through an inquiry arc of comprehension and analysis of complex text.   These two curricula were identified as having the strongest writing instruction out of all choices.

The committee members also identified a list of questions we still had about each curriculum that we would like to pay close attention to during the pilot.  Next steps include planning the logistics of pilots that will run in January and March, as well as provide PD to teachers piloting.

October 14

The HS ELA Instructional Materials Committee met for 2 hours after school on October 14. Two district facilitators and 2 teachers (representing grades 9-12, 2 of the 3 comprehensive high schools and 2 alternative high schools) were in attendance.  The agenda included review of survey data collected from RSD students enrolled in grades 9-12 from each of the 3 comprehensive high schools and 2 alternative high schools and from RSD HS ELA teachers. The committee evaluated the priorities identified as most important by both groups and used this analysis to further refine the list of priorities for instructional materials that will drive evaluation of materials selected for adoption. Top priorities include materials that honor diversity and include a variety of perspectives, promote independence and develop skills transferable skills that will serve students post-graduation, students having choice in texts and writing, opportunities for teacher creativity within the framework to enhance student learning, and that support the teaching of the writing process. Next steps include collecting options for instructional materials and evaluating top contenders using these identified criteria as well as published evaluation tools (Equip, iMet, Equity). Two sets of instructional materials will be chosen to pilot.


September 12

The HS ELA Instructional Materials Committee met for a full day on September 12. Two district facilitators and 9 teachers (representing grades 9-12, the 3 comprehensive high schools and 2 alternative high schools) attended.  The agenda included in-depth study of the Common Core Standards and several tools used to evaluate instructional materials (Equip, iMet, Equity). Informed by that study, the committee began drafting and prioritizing criteria used to evaluate materials. Next steps include collection of student, teacher and family input and using the input to finalize district-specific criteria.  The committee also agreed to a consensus model for choosing pilot materials and, eventually, the final recommendation for adoption.  

AP Social Studies

On Thursday, September 19th, AP Government and AP U.S. History teachers were trained on textbook navigation, teacher resources, and online supports by a representative from Bedford, Freeman & Worth. Prior to the training, the AP U.S. History teachers were split between two different books, Fabric of a Nation and America’s History. During the training the U.S. History teachers learned the difference between the books; Fabric of a Nation covers condensed content with a larger focus on skills, whereas America’s History is more content focused with embedded skills. The teachers decided based on the needs of the students in Renton and the alignment to the College Board Framework, that they would pilot America’s History. After the training all AP teachers planned the unit they would pilot with their cross-district peers. As they planned, the teachers identified where they would assess students to monitor growth, how they would use resources, and how they would collect data to determine if the pilot materials meet the expectations of the district. AP U.S. History will pilot the first set of materials in mid-October, when they start their next unit. Due to trimester scheduling, Lindbergh High will pilot AP Government starting early October, at the start of the next unit and Hazen High will pilot AP Government in December when the second trimester begins.

Elementary Music

September 25

On September 25, 6 music teachers, one instructional facilitator, and one district ELL specialist met to examine research, stakeholder feedback, and other data to begin the creation of our screening tool. At that meeting, it was determined that we needed more time to work together specifically around understanding the standards. We added a release day on November 22 to give us this additional time.


October 30

On October 30, 6 music teachers, one instructional facilitator, and one district ELL specialist met to deeply examine the standards, finalize our screening tool, and calibrate our use of the screening tool to our current instructional materials. At this meeting, we elected to screen a 6th set of materials in addition to the 5 we were already planning to screen, and made some minor changes to our screening tool as a result of our calibration work.

Secondary Fine Arts

September 2019:

Members of the middle school orchestra, art, and drama teams met to review the adoption process and to form the committees that would be working on our adoption teams. Special emphasis was made about the need to tie all of our work to State standards and to make sure that our work is centered around engaging all students. We have the luxury of having small departments. Because of this, every member of each of these curricular areas decided to be on the committees. The middle school orchestra and art committee members include teachers from all four of our middle schools.  The drama committee consists of teaches from Hazen, Renton High, Nelsen and Risdon


October 2019:

The three teams met in separate meetings. We reviewed our recently drafted scope and sequences and discussed how the new curriculums will tie into these and how we hoped to use them in the new trimester grading periods. The scope and sequences were only made last June. Because of this, the teams felt that it was important to re-visit the work and make sure that it is tied to all the current work we are doing in adopting new curriculum.


November 2019:

Each of the teams were focused on developing the screening tools we will use to measure curriculums. Each team worked on making a preliminary document that will help us to develop the screening tools. This document ended up being three lists. On the first list, they identified every standard that their courses currently address. Of those standards, they identified which ones were the most important and should be included on the screening tool. These made up the second list. Standards that are not currently being addressed, but should be, were also added to the second list. Finally, each team discussed best instructional practices for their content areas and compiled these on the final list. This discussion was particularly lively and engaging for art and drama. These teachers have essentially been working as individuals, and these new opportunities for collaboration and curriculum development are helping our teachers become unified, and even better than they already are!

Secondary PE


Secondary Physical Educators met on Friday October 25th to begin the curriculum adoption process.   Teachers from the 3 comprehensive high schools and one alternative school, along with a facilitator examined the needs of the students in Renton and how our current practices align to state standards.  We examined and compared the limited resources available for high school PE classes.  The committee is moving forward to pilot Focused Fitness Five for Life Advanced Curriculum.  The Intermediate Curriculum in being used at the middle school level and the group felt that having some continuation of the current curriculum was important.


We engaged with a Focused Fitness staff member remotely who trained us in the Five for Life Curriculum and how to best access the content and curriculum for 90 minutes.   Committee members started familiarizing themselves with the online e-curriculum and the classroom lesson plans. 


The pilot will begin and end  2nd trimester in 4 high schools.  The pilot will include as many different physical education classes as possible.  On the agenda for next time is to finalize the evaluation tool and the pilot process.