(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia)—Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is closer to choosing its new reading curriculum for K-5 students by reducing the number of state-approved options from six programs to two. The Albemarle County School Board is expected to approve the program that will be in use for the 2024-25 school year in January of next year. The programs remaining under consideration are Benchmark Advance and HMH Into Reading.
The selection of a new curriculum follows a 2022 state law requiring all school divisions in Virginia to improve literacy outcomes for students. In meeting this commitment, more than 60 teachers, administrators, academic coaches, parents, and community partners from across the division came together as an English Language Arts Adoption Committee.
The division’s Executive Director of Elementary Education, Michele Caster, said, “Our goal from the beginning of this process has been to be transparent, clear, inclusive and thoughtful. A vital requirement in making a decision is to ensure we are receiving feedback from every elementary teacher and from our families. This is the team that has the largest stake in improving the reading skills and abilities of our students, and their support and enthusiasm for the curriculum we will use is vital to our success.”
More information about each program is available to families at the following links:
Programs were judged on how effectively they could be utilized by teachers to develop language comprehension, including vocabulary, language structure and verbal reasoning, word recognition involving phonological awareness, decoding (spelling-sound connections), and sight recognition of familiar words.
All parents, teachers, and community partners are encouraged to examine the two programs at their local elementary school and to provide their comments in a feedback survey at the school. Visitors should notify the school ahead of time of their plans to review the programs. Community members are welcome to review the materials at Center I, located at 1180 Seminole Trail in Charlottesville.
Comments also can be submitted through the online ELA Adoption Caregiver/Community Survey. The survey is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Pashto and Dari. The survey deadline is Friday, December 8.
The adoption committee is expected to make a recommendation to the school board during the month of January. Program information materials will be available for public inspection and comment for 30 days prior to the school board’s approval.
The board is expected to approve a curriculum early in the new year, providing extensive opportunities for teacher professional development with the new curriculum in time for the start of the new school year next August.
CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Deputy Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer