Scan the vision and mission statements of schools and it is nearly impossible to find a school that doesn’t commit to educating “all” students or meet “each” or “every” student’s need. Yet we know that many schools fall far short of this mark. Too many students don’t experience the same high-quality learning experiences that even their peers across the aisle, hall, or county have access to. This is an equity challenge. Combine the uneven results within and across districts with the fact that the students more likely to be lagging are students of color and students from high-poverty contexts and the equity challenge is compounded.
Among the factors that schools have the power to address, the quality of teaching and the quality of the curriculum materials are two factors that, when integrated and improved with intention, have the potential to answer those equity challenges. When all students experience high-quality teaching, they are more likely to learn. When all classrooms are filled with high-quality instructional materials, students are more likely to learn. Establishing these conditions for all learners will help close achievement gaps.
This report explores the premise that there’s nothing more powerful than great teachers skillfully using great instructional materials to motivate and engage students in their learning. Three real-world examples illustrate how schools and school systems are working to support teachers to skillfully use high-quality, standards-aligned curricula, by providing teachers with the time and expertise to use those curricula well, with a focus on team-based, collaborative learning. The report also provides lessons learned across these sites and action steps to get schools and districts started on the journey.