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Ed Reports Case Study: A Transparent Approach to Curriculum Adoption
Posted 3/29/18

Newport-Mesa Unified School District Teachers Training

Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s (NMUSD) successful approach to curriculum adoption was featured in a case study by is an independent nonprofit designed to improve K-12 education. increases the capacity of teachers, administrators, and leaders to seek, identify, and demand the highest-quality instructional materials.


The case study reviewed NMUSD’s nine month curriculum adoption process for elementary math and English language arts instructional materials. The case study notes NMUSD’s commitment to a transparent adoption process that was data driven, aligned to state standards, and teacher-centered.


As part of the process NMUSD partnered with the Orange County Department of Education who supported the district with their deep knowledge and expertise to provide guidance on the adoption process, evaluation tools, professional development, and final program selection process. 


The adoption process began with a Steering Committee, which included educators throughout the district. The Steering Committee reviewed and determined which two instructional material programs would be piloted. The next step in the process was intensive training into the shifts in mathematics. Each program was then piloted for seven weeks.


After months of meetings, piloting, and evidence gathering, the materials adoption team reviewed the results and began the consensus process to select the best instructional materials for NMUSD students. The first task in the consensus process was to build a shared definition and understanding of what consensus means.


“The idea is that all voices are heard, and you don’t move forward until everyone, even those who most oppose it, can see the will of the group emerging,” said Mr. George Knights, director for assessments for NMUSD.


Based on the analysis of the results, a consensus was reached through a variety of activities designed so that all voices would be heard and eventually reveal the will of the group. At the end of the nine month process, the NMUSD Board of Education adopted the recommended math and English language arts curriculum for elementary students.


While the comprehensive, teacher-centered adoption process ends there, the implementation, ongoing support for students and teachers, and parent education continues.


The implementation process began with a summer professional development series, where teachers participated in various training opportunities to learn the new material and approaches on how to best implement the material.


NMUSD also has implemented a yearlong Moonlight Series, which are two hour grade specific sessions to review upcoming units of study. The lead pilot teachers from the adoption process and district staff lead these monthly sessions.


As part of the momentum that’s building specific with elementary math instruction, schools also began incorporating parent education sessions. Each school site has flexibility as to how they engage, educate, and provide parents with resources to support their child’s learning. Some schools have hosted “bring your parent to math class day” or “muffins and math day,” for parents to see firsthand what math looks like in the classroom today. Schools also have or will host formal parent meetings and presentations to provide a greater understanding of the state standards and how students are learning math concepts to best prepare them for future success.


To learn more please read the full case study by about NMUSD’s transparent approach to curriculum adoption.