Giving Compass' Take:

· Writing for EdSource, Daniel Helena explains that districts need to implement curricula that is relevant to their students in order to promote equal opportunities of success.

· How can districts change the curriculum to help close the achievement gap? Why is this so important to accomplish before high school?  

· Here's how to make adopting a new curriculum work.

Whenever my sixth graders enter my English classroom, I’m struck by both their boundless energy and their lack of self-consciousness. My students give me a high-five in the morning. One of them always insists that I raise my hand as high as I can so that she can show off just how high she can jump.

To protect her privacy, I’ll call her Jasmine.  I was surprised that despite her unadulterated joy in school, her reading skills fell far short when she came to my class. She was multiple years behind and I was determined to help her rise to the challenge of reading by ensuring that she can see herself in her schoolwork.

Jasmine’s struggle wasn’t new to me. Even with lots of support, my most struggling readers were often not progressing. As I reflected on how I could fill my students’ literacy gaps, the important question was: How can my students develop the abilities necessary to master grade-level skills?

I am fortunate that my school leaders have afforded me and my co-teacher the space to answer these questions, as well as professional development training around co-teaching and culturally relevant teaching. Some of this training included how co-teachers can build and leverage positive relationships between one another and how to make content more interesting for students.

As a result, the class that I now co-teach with a special education teacher focuses on students like Jasmine.

Read the full article about relevant curriculum by Daniel Helena at EdSource.