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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 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.