States Using Federal Aid to Improve Use of High-Quality Curriculum

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As school leaders work to support students in accelerating learning after school building closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one important lever is high-quality curriculum.

Research has found that the choice of instructional materials has a big impact on student learning – sometimes equating to more than four years of additional learning for students who had high-quality curriculum as compared to peers who didn’t. The effects are particularly pronounced for students in marginalized communities. High-quality curriculum is more powerful when joined with excellent teaching, so professional development is a key part of this strategy as well.

Several states in the Council of Chief State School Officers' Instructional Materials and Professional Development (IMPD) Network are using federal relief funding to support the use of high-quality instructional materials and professional development in their schools.

CCSSO is proud to support these states and others in their efforts to accelerate learning for all students.

Rhode Island, for instance, is using federal funding to support professional development in its high-quality elementary and middle school math instruction, and in implementing state law that requires professional learning in the science of reading and structured literacy.

Texas commissioned the development and/or licensure of high-quality instructional materials aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards to support educators in virtual, in-person and hybrid settings, with materials for kindergarten through 5th grade science and pre-K through 12th grade English language arts and math. The state is also using federal funding to support coaching for district leaders and professional development for educators. Adoption of the materials and use of additional supports is optional for districts.

Massachusetts is using federal funding for several high-quality instructional materials initiatives, including creating its Acceleration Roadmap, a tool for teachers and school leaders to support acceleration of student learning in 2021-2022 school year. It is grounded in using high-quality instructional materials and supporting student access to grade-level content.

Elsewhere, Kentucky is allocating federal aid to the eight regional education cooperatives for addressing student accelerated learning needs and social-emotional supports and providing professional learning to schools and districts on Kentucky’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework, academic standards implementation and local curriculum development process, including the selection and evaluation of high-quality instructional resources and high-quality professional learning.

Nebraska is using federal aid to purchase high-quality math curriculum and associated professional development. Additionally, if school districts are using aid from the American Rescue Plan to purchase curriculum, it must be high-quality. Materials with an EdReports rating of “Meets” expectations are pre-approved as an ESSER expenditure; materials with a “Does Not Meet” rating by EdReports will not be approved as an ESSER expenditure; materials with a “Partially Meets” rating or not listed in EdReports will be subject to additional review by Nebraska Department of Education staff prior to approval.     

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