Family Engagement Survey - February 25 to March 24, 2020 - Learn More


  • ­set norms for our meetings
  • ­understand the decision making process for text adoption
  • ­overview of changes made in the redesign
  • ­review ELA CCSS in Reading
  • Next steps- text proposals


  • ­We are making a recommendation for adoption of instructional material that will be the base for our curriculum. The texts are not the curriculum.
  • ­All decisions are made based on sound research, the best interests of our students, and align with our district mission and criteria.
  • ­We are choosing texts that will be required for all students in the course.
  • ­Please keep an open mind throughout the process.


  •  Presume positive intentions
  •  Monitor your personal “air time”
  •  Focus on the issue not the person delivering information
  •  Speak with consideration and respect for others and their efforts
  •  Acknowledge and appreciate each others perspective

Adoption Timeline

  • March 2015 Form Adoption Committee
  • ­March- June 2015: 3-4 adoption committee meetings to establish criteria, review materials, and select materials to pilot during the 2015-16 year
  • ­Fall 2015 Experimental use in classroom– Collect survey and assessment data
  • ­Winter 2016: Two committee meetings to review data and develop recommendation to the IMC
  • ­Spring 2016: Adoption recommendation to the IMC and presentation to the School Board for possible adoption

The adoption team is not making the final decision on the content of this course. In the end, we’re making a recommendation to the IMC, and then they will make a recommendation to the school board.

IMC isn’t approving the text but the approving the process (collecting information from as many people and as many different stakeholder groups as possible).

 Description of the Process

  • Selection process to develop criteria for materials review
  • Pilot follows selection of at least two materials to collect data while using the materials with students.
  • Adoption recommendation to the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC)
  • Implementation following School Board approval to begin district-wide use.

Decision Making Process

The culminating activity of the Junior American Literature Instructional Materials Committee will be to reach a decision regarding which American literature instructional materials to recommend to the Instructional Materials Committee for adoption. The IMC will recommend final approval to the Bellevue School Board. Each committee member has one vote that must be exercised. No abstentions will be allowed. A clear recommendation will be indicated by 7 out of 11 people in favor of one of the materials.


Consensus for Establishing the Decision-Making Process

  • ­Thumbs Up: I think it’s a good decision and will advocate for it.
  • ­Thumbs Sideways: I am comfortable with the proposal, but would like to discuss some minor issues.
  • ­Thumbs Down: I still need to discuss certain issues and suggest changes that should be made.

Decision-Making Process

All committee members must be comfortable with taking a vote before voting is implemented. This comfort level will be identified by a thumbs consensus vote including all members based on the question: “Do you feel that you have enough information about the two instructional materials to make an informed recommendation to the Instructional Materials Committee?” Once all members show thumbs up, the committee members will vote to select the final text(s).

Common Core for 11th Grade

  • 3 Key Instructional Shifts
  • Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary
  • Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from the text
  • Building knowledge through content rich non-fiction and informational text

Overview of Units

Christopher Drajem and David Lasby identified three units in the Junior American Literature course they wanted to redesign.

In the fall/winter they created and presented the redesigns for approval from all high school English teachers. They presented at two different Wednesday afternoon meetings and we used a protocol to elicit feedback from teachers. The final vote was through SharePoint.

The approval was to move forward with the redesign. Our purpose is to select the texts that best meet student need.

What prompted us to consider revisions?

  • Smarter Balanced assessment changes
  • Reinvigorate the curriculum
  • ­NHS focus: relationships & relevance
  • DIVERSITY of voices in American lit
  • ­underrepresented in current curriculum

Some Things Stay the Same

  • Most content remains unchanged
  • Into the Wild, Great Gatsby, The Things They Carried, Fences, A Raisin in the Sun    ALL REMAIN
  • Most objectives remain; some objectives have shifted to different units

Some Things Have Changed

  • Revisions were made based on the feedback we received
  • Changes to the curriculum were approved by vote
  • Lesson plans will be written over the spring and summer
  • Our first September meeting will review these lessons if not sooner.
  • Changes will be implemented next year
  • Please let Cathy know if you would like to help write unit 2, 3, or 6

**Adoption of new Instructional Materials will go through the Instructional Materials adoption process.

Unit Two: A Short (Story) Survey of American History

Essential Questions

  • ­How do writers respond to the concerns of their lives and times through the creation of short works of fiction?
  • ­Why is the context in which authors create a piece of fiction important?
  • ­How do the narrative styles of satire, realism, regionalism, romanticism, post-modernism, etc. help us understand the relationship between context and meaning?
  • ­In what ways is satire an effective agent of change in American culture? (Current objective for satire unit)
  • ­Has American culture been motivated to change by literature that pointed out some of its problems in the past? (Current satire unit)

Curriculum would include approximately 10 required pieces (These are yet to be chosen and will need to go through IMC), and then a list of 10-20 more titles from which teachers could select additional texts.

Currently unit 2 is The Crucible (drama switched to Unit 3). Students should consider satire as in current unit, but they should also consider other purposes for which authors write?

Also want to focus on short stories—uniquely American form totally underrepresented in current curriculum.

List of possible authors on course proposal handout.

Final Assessment: Expository Essay

Students pick one of the short narratives, and explain how the author’s scope, tone, and audience fit into the historical context of the piece.

Unit Six: Exploration of Race through Literary Narratives

Essential Questions

  • ­How have Americans of color been marginalized and excluded from the American Dream?
  • ­How have historical factors affected access to success and empowerment?
  • ­How do these unique American voices contribute to and alter the ongoing conversation of American narrative?
  • ­How does our own narrative fit into the larger narrative conversations of those who have gone before and those who are currently experiencing American life?

BOOK CHOICE/LITERATURE CIRCLES: Students select one texts. POSSIBLE choices include:

Julia Alvarez, In the Time of Butterflies; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye or Sula; Jhumpa Lahiri, TheNamesake;  Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; August Wilson, Fences; Loraine Hansberry, A Raison in the Sun; Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker; Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (These are yet to be chosen and will need to go through IMC)

FINAL ASSESSMENT—Two possibilities:

  • Literary Analysis and Comparison Presentation (similar to current Stage & Screen prompt)
  • Cultural Narrative: Oral History (based on individual student racial/cultural heritage)

Unit Three: The Rhetoric of Drama

Duration of the Unit: 10 Weeks

Essential Questions

  • Whose story is told and accepted?
  • What story becomes the dominant narrative? Why?
  • Whose voice is credible? Why?
  • How do the varied elements of a narrative prompt emotional responses which aid in achieving a rhetorical purpose?

Possible Text:  The Laramie Project, by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project

And a variety of news articles & excerpts from non-fiction texts including:

  • The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard by Stephen Jimenez
  • The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed by Judy Shepard

**Adoption of new Instructional Materials will go through the Instructional Materials adoption process.

Possible Text: Twilight Los Angeles

Argumentative PROMPT:

  • Possible essay questions could include…
  • What events or social forces lead to violence from police?
  • How should police be held accountable for their actions?
  • What forms of protest are instrumental in making societal change?
  • Is mistrust of the criminal justice system from minority populations justified?

Current text for this unit is The Crucible. What’s missing from curriculum: Why do we believe a story? What story becomes the dominant narrative? Lends itself well to an argumentative essay. The current unit’s assessment doesn’t really prepare students for Smarter Balanced.

Proposed texts: The Laramie Project is all about democratic voice, became the dominant narrative. Then The Book of Matt came out; Stephen Jimenez came to a completely different and more complex conclusion, and was then pilloried in the press because he was challenging the dominant narrative. Great pair of texts for exploring essential question.

Proposed text: Twilight Los Angeles explores the events revolving around Rodney King. No opposing text, but interesting choice because it’s topical (police violence, race in America).

Digging in to Common Core

Reflection on the standards

2 standards I think we do well. 2 standards that are new, challenging, or where we might need more work.

  • Wondering: How do we increase diversity in reading while also boosting addressing CCSS RL9 (18th, 19th, early 20th c. foundational American literature).
  • Special Ed: How can I help students meet standards in the resource room so they can move to gen ed classes.
  • How do we get students to engage with the high-complexity, challenging texts?
  • Who is the graduate we’re thinking of? How do we create a curriculum that’s rich and responsive enough to allow students to develop into these independent learners? How do we define curriculum, and how does it meet students’ needs?
  • How do you get general education students to take control and develop autonomy with curriculum materials the way IB/AP students do?
  • Integration of knowledge and ideas: seeing old units that we’ve cut, and are these things covered in history classes?
  • ELLs: Excited about the amount of choice and diversity – more relevant to our students. For ELL students, informational texts are more accessible; literature is more challenging, especially with religious undertones.
  • Hope this process is empowering for students and teachers.


  • Preparation for college, career and life
  • Articulation between grade levels
  • Accessible to a diverse student population
  • Aligned to ELA CCSS
  • Aligned with unit objectives
  • Textual Complexity appropriate for Grade 11

Text Proposals

With the Reading ELA CCSS in mind and the unit proposals, brainstorm with your colleagues texts you would like to propose for consideration in this adoption process.


  • ­set Norms for our meetings
  • ­understand the decision making process for text adoption
  • ­review ELA CCSS in Reading
  • ­overview of changes made in the redesign