Rachel, a passionate leader in a New York City–based public school, was concerned about the math outcomes at her school, especially for English language learners (ELLs), who made up about a third of the school community. Rachel knew that the students at her school had tremendous learning potential and that their teachers were motivated. The students had improved in English language arts, but mathematics scores had remained stagnant, particularly for ELLs.
Several math teachers said that the school’s adopted curriculum didn’t support the kind of instruction required for ELLs and they were creating supplemental resources, but the resulting units lacked cohesion.
Research points to the role of carefully designed, high-quality learning materials. High-challenge, high-support materials allow great teachers to engage students in quality interactions that scaffold and motivate students. Creating a curriculum inquiry team is a way to leverage the knowledge and expertise of educators from different disciplines to establish a more inclusive, engaging, and effective curriculum.