District's ELA Curriculum Adoption Process Leads to CommonLit
Battle Ground School District is located in Washington state and home to nearly 12,000 students and 800 teachers. In 2022, the district decided that its English-Language Arts curriculum from 2000 was ready for an overhaul, and they created an adoption committee to lead the process. After the first meeting, Allison Tuchardt, the Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Director in Battle Ground recalls, “One of our middle school teachers reached out and said, ‘Have you heard about CommonLit?’ It was our teachers who found it and loved it and brought it to our attention.”
From the onset, the district had certain parameters that they wanted their new ELA adoption to meet. Says Tuchardt, “We were looking for something that was updated and standards aligned. Something that was relevant and would be engaging for students and teachers. If there were components that follow the Science of Reading, that was a bonus.” CommonLit met all those criteria and more, including an affordable price point. “Our first step was to identify if there was anything that we could not afford, and we took those off the table to begin with,” says Tuchardt. “Then if there was anything that was seen as a supplementary curriculum, we took that off the table as well since we wanted something that was going to provide a core curriculum.” Again, CommonLit fit the bill with the CommonLit 360 curriculum, a full-year standards-based ELA curriculum for grades 6-12.
Before deciding on a curriculum for the district, Battle Ground had their teachers pilot the top two contenders in a head-to-head comparison. Before the onset of Battle Ground’s pilot experience, the district emphasized the need for a curriculum that is engaging, meets the needs of all their students, and supports teachers in using best practices in their classrooms. These needs were all met with CommonLit 360.
Regarding the pilot process, Amy Fredericks, Battle Ground’s Curriculum/Curriculum Adoption Teacher on Special Assignment had this to say about CommonLit, “You all were incredibly friendly, professional, and responsive because in this role I'm learning not all vendors are created equally.” Indeed, CommonLit prides itself on the high level of support afforded their school partners, including during the pilot process. Once starting a pilot with CommonLit, schools are partnered with an instructional expert who assists every step of the way to ensure a smooth pilot experience.
Custom Professional Development, High-Touch Support, and More
During the one-month pilot period, all ELA teachers taught a full CommonLit 360 unit, attended professional development sessions and received a variety of teaching tips and support from CommonLit. During the Pilot period, Fredericks said, “What's also been really great is how responsive CommonLit has been to questions like, ‘Hey, could we try this?' The fact that you're taking in feedback from practitioners to improve your product. That stands out because people love to feel heard.”
That top-notch customer support continues once schools partner with CommonLit. Now that Battle Ground has gone from a pilot school to implementing the CommonLit curriculum full-time in their middle schools, Tuchardt reports that, “Everybody at CommonLit that we have worked with has made a point to have relationships with people in our district, and it feels like we're not just a line item or a number. Everybody at CommonLit is here to truly help us and cares about the work that we are doing with our students.”
While the customer service from CommonLit is one feature that sets them apart from competitors, the Battle Ground team was also delighted by the consistency that the 360 curriculum provides. The leadership at Battle Ground believes firmly in the idea that all students across their district deserve access to the best resources. Says Tuchardt, “We talk a lot in Battle Ground about guaranteed and viable curriculum and equity of instruction, and I think that's what CommonLit is bringing to the table. This program is leveling the playing field for all of our students.”