New ELA curriculum set to implement more technology in classrooms


Credit: Grace Carey / The Foothill Dragon Press

Chloe Hilles

Beginning next school year, English-Language Arts (ELA) curriculum for grades six through twelve will be experiencing a change; the new programs, StudySync and Read 180, will be incorporating both online programs as well as traditional textbooks.

StudySync is arranged by thematic units per quarter, which may be a new approach for some classes. READ 180 is intended to “supplement the core curriculum for students who need additional support,” according to Julie Judd, Chief Technology Coordinator.

The Ventura Unified School District Board of Education approved the curriculum at their meeting on April 25 in a unanimous 5-0 vote. Anne Roundy-Harter, ELA coordinator, is “delighted” by the outcome.

Due to the digital curriculum aspect, every ELA teacher will receive a Chromebook cart for their class. For Foothill teachers, this means that any teacher without a Chromebook/laptop cart already will receive one for the new curriculum.

“My team will order the Chromebooks and charging carts and install, configure and deliver to the classrooms in time for the first day of school,” Judd said.

Roundy-Harter explained that a Roll-Out committee will be put together in order to plan professional development for teachers, administrators and parents.

“We are very excited and grateful that our district has worked to provide funding so that each ELA teacher, including those from special education, ELD (English Language Development), English intervention, college-prep, Honors and AP (Advanced Placement), will have a Chromebook cart to use in their classroom,” Roundy-Harter said.

“Our English classrooms can truly be 21st Century learning environments with every student having access to a Chromebook,” she continued.

Earlier this year, a handful of teachers were able to pilot the program in their classrooms. According to Judd, there were no technology difficulties when the programs were piloted.

“Students’ voices were very important in this process,” Roundy-Harter said. She continued to explain that more than twice as many students preferred StudySync over the alternative curriculum, California Collections.

Total costs for the new curriculum and technology have not yet been calculated however, funding for the new program is being covered through district technology funds and the Educational Services department budget.

According to Roundy-Harter, the Business Services and Educational Services team members are “carefully calculating all the costs as well as upkeep/maintenance costs, to ensure that this can happen and that we can sustain the program over time.”

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