Captivating & Personalized Material Changes for the 2021-2022 School Year

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 9/20/21 8:46 AM

For the 2021-2022 school year, PA Distance has adopted new curriculum materials for K-5 and 6-12 English Language Arts (ELA) and 7th and 8th grade Math. Curriculum & Instruction Coordinator, Mrs. Tanya Contos, worked with PA Distance teachers and administration to research, test, and implement these exciting new curriculum programs. 

For the last few years, Mrs. Contos has been responsible for the school-wide curriculum mapping and ensuring everything aligns with state standards. To do this, she has been pre-screening new products, putting them through the review committees, testing phases, and then formal recommendations to the administration for adoption. 

The first of the three program changes Mrs. Contos has spearheaded for this school year is MyView Literacy (2020) for K-5 grades ELA. MyView Literacy is a research-based, cohesive, and interactive literacy program. 

“It is very comprehensive and everything is available digitally,” she said “It is very authentic.”

MyView literacy embeds Social Emotional Learning, so along with their reading instruction, students are learning about goal setting, building relationships, solving problems, and respecting others. It also includes various reading and writing lessons that focus on both whole and small group learning, and the texts focus on science and social studies themes.  

“What I love about MyView Literacy is that the rich texts capture students’ interests. They are current and engaging,” Mrs. Contos added. “Also, while students are engaged in their reading activities, they are also learning lessons for life.” 

For 6-12 ELA, PA Distance will transition to StudySync ELA (2021). StudySync ELA is a research-based, high-quality program that combines technology and media with high-interest texts to deliver engaging instruction to students. StudySync ELA leverages technology and media that allows teachers to personalize the learning experience for students. The platform is interactive and adaptable so students are provided with equitable learning experiences without having to sacrifice rigor or grade-level content.  Students also have the ability to access over 2,500 contemporary and classic texts in the library, giving them choice in their independent reading time. 

“Peer review is built-in to the platform so the students can give feedback to each other,” she mentioned.  

“StudySync also consistently updates materials based on real-world news and events,” Mrs. Contos explained. “For example, before the 2020 election, they provided information to explain how elections work and the importance of voting, etc.” 

PA Distance will also utilize enVision Math 2.0 for 7th and 8th grade Math. Envision Math 2.0 is a comprehensive mathematics curriculum resource that enables students to meet the rigorous middle school math standards through problem-solving, interactive experiences and visual learning. It contains built-in interventions and options for customizable content depending on the student’s level.  

This product combines problem-based learning and visual learning to make math connect for students. The student learning experience includes animations, real-world tasks, student-centered projects, and student choice. 

“The students find it motivating when they can choose their own activity. Embedded in enVision Middle School math is the opportunity for students to ‘Pick a Project’ which is based on their interests and how they like to work,” Mrs. Contos explained. 

“There are also a variety of variations for different learning styles,” she added. “It is very engaging and connects real-world examples to the topics at hand.” 

All of these curriculum products have been fully vetted and approved by, an independent nonprofit organization that offers evidence-rich, comprehensive reports and information about a program's alignment to the standards and other indicators of quality.

“The EdReports review process is very thorough. It is the first place I go when considering a new curriculum product,” she said. 

Mrs. Contos has planned monthly meetings with school staff whose classes utilize the new products to review the experience of their students. From those meetings, she gathers data that may indicate the need for change. The goal of the meetings is to make the user the best possible experience for each student and their family. 

“I am most excited about the different supports depending on where each student is in their learning journey,” she added. “Each platform is user-friendly, relevant to the students,  and thoughtfully put together. All of the products do a great job of providing support for all learners.” 

Topics: News, Family Resources, Tech & Teaching

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