FSD145 Adopts New $274,913 K-8 Reading Curriculum

Freeport, Illinois — In a press release issued by Freeport School District #145, it announced that at its regular meeting on January 17th, the Freeport School District Board of Education approved the purchase and adoption of Schoolwide, a new K-8 reading program for the district.

The release stated that the adoption of Schoolwide is the result of a comprehensive curriculum review of K-8 Reading completed by teachers, administrators, and the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. The review committee, along with teachers, worked to pilot curriculums during Fall 2016 and unanimously selected Schoolwide as the preferred program.

The Schoolwide program follows the workshop model, which teaches reading through several different components. These include interactive read-aloud lessons, independent reading, small group work, and partnerships/book clubs, among others. The workshop model helps teachers with the structure of literacy in their classrooms, as well as with the organization of a balanced literacy model.

Teachers will begin receiving curriculum materials in the coming weeks and will begin professional development in February or March. The implementation process will be gradual throughout the remainder of this school year. Full implementation in grades K-8 will begin at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

“We are extremely excited for the future of the students in the Freeport School District,” said Dr. Duane Meighan, FSD Asst. Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. “It was a very arduous, thought-provoking, and collaborative process to navigate through the reading curriculum review process to make this critical decision. The Schoolwide reading curriculum is driven by Lucy Calkin’s Workshop Model, will help teachers to organize the literacy environment in their classrooms, and will naturally create 21st century classrooms.”

The projected cost to implement Schoolwide, including resources, professional development, and stipends for all K-8 teachers, is $274,913, to be paid out of Title I funds.

The release stated that the reading curriculum ‘Schoolwide’ is driven by Lucy Calkin’s Workshop Model.

Lucy Calkins, founding director of the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, is hailed as one of the most influential literacy educators in the country.

She is the author of the Units of Study curriculum guide books and one of the originators of the “workshop” method for reading and writing instruction, which centers on independent student work in combination with teacher modeling and one-on-one and small-group guidance.

While Calkins’ methods have been widely adopted, they’ve also come under recent criticism, with some arguing that they don’t put enough emphasis on direct instruction and give students too much choice to be compatible with rigorous academic frameworks like the Common Core State Standards.

The program ‘Schoolwide’ came from a company originally formed in the Bronx, NY.

According to their website, “Schoolwide, Inc. began as a diminutive book distributor located in the basement of a house and run by two brothers, the sons of two public school teachers”. Today, Schoolwide says they are a “leading provider of educational products, a partner to some of the most well-respected educational organizations in the world, and a curriculum developer, publisher, and professional development provider”.

For more information about Schoolwide you can visit their website or reach out to Dr. Meighan at FSD#145. For information about FSD’s implementation of this curriculum, you may also contact Dr. Meighan at 815-232-0310 or duane.meighan@fsd145.org as well.

Leave a Reply