The Curriculum Chronicle

September 2018

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I'm more than just books...

Book orders have been placed and I am working hard with the warehouse to deliver materials as quickly as possible.


But did you know that I can do more for you than just order new novels? I would love to be out in your classrooms, seeing some amazing examples of ELA in action. I would love to sit down with your PLC and just hear the dialogue that is taking place around the work. I'd also love to help facilitate any activities where you could use an extra pair of hands. While I may stop in if I am in the building, I never want to catch you by surprise. Please let me know if can support you or your PLC with breaking down standards, success criteria, task alignment, authentic assessments or any other queries that may pop up.


And I'm going a little stir crazy in my cubicle :-)

District PLC Sign Up (Everyone)

You received an email on 8/29 titled 2018-2019 PLC Offerings & Instructions from DesMoinesPublic@dmschools.org.


Please sign up for your district PLC through Campus Portal. Your PLC facilitator will be reaching out with details about your location and specifics for your group or content area.

Please sign up for your district PLC No later than September 14th so you get all of the info!

District PLC days for your calendar:

Sept. 19

Nov. 7

Jan. 23

Feb. 13

April 3

*Edit: ELL and SPED will have separate PLC's coordinated with those supervisors. Co-teachers or those of you who may fall into more than one category may choose where you feel you will get the most support.

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Novels (Everyone)

An order for novels was placed on 8/31. When I receive notice that they have shipped, I will notify the warehouse to initiate the transfer to your buildings. Central Stores is moving as quickly as they can but bus driver shortages and large amounts of transfer requests have things a bit backed up. I am working with our amazing staff at Prospect to move things as quickly as I can. I promise I'll update you when materials are here.

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If you have books that are clearly just taking up space, PLEASE box and transfer them to Central Stores. The retrieval system is so easy and allows us all to share materials instead of duplicating sets of un-used materials. We must get in the habit of sending materials back to Central Stores so they can be correctly inventoried. If you receive materials in a bar-coded plastic tub, PLEASE but the books back in that tub for return to the warehouse. They were purchased to make this system and storage easier for everyone.


Never used the transfer materials form? Try to funnel transfer requests through one central person, and include all items from your building on the same form. You don't need a separate form for each set of books, and it saves the warehouse time if they can pick up multiple things with one order.

See the screenshots below for more instructions.


  • Campus Tools; Index
  • Electronic Forms
  • Transfer Materials Form

Achieve 3000 Training (Achieve 3000 users, primarily 6-8)

Nicole Tennant will be in Des Moines for 4 intensive training periods throughout the year, and the first one is just 2 weeks away! We would like to dive beyond basic functionality and look deeper into how teachers can use the program to create strong close-readers. These times should overlap a planning period as well as class time with students. Nicole is happy to work with teachers and their students in making the most of the system. I will be with Nicole in each building and am happy to assist in classroom coverage while teachers take advantage of this opportunity.

9/11 McCombs AM/Hiatt PM

9/12 WeeksAM/Callanan PM

(This is a teacher directed afternoon. Nicole will be housed at Callanan in the main office conference room for ANY achieve user from the district for support. All are welcome to stop in with questions.)

9/13 Hoyt AM/Harding PM


*We are focusing heavily in the schools who selected the BOOST upgrade this year to examine the effectiveness of the features on student success. We have additional days available with our trainer that have not yet been scheduled. If you are finding a significant need, please reach out so we can arrange support at other times throughout the year.

MAP (and discontinuation of the SRI)

***Test coordinators are aware of the issues with MAP. Please be patient as our technology team works to solve the compatibility issues.***



Don't forget the testing window!

6-8 MAP Reading

Sep 4 –Oct 1

Dec 3 – Jan 11

May 6 – May 17


9-10 MAP Reading

Sep 4 – Oct 1

Dec 3 – Jan 11 (no longer required)

Apr 22 - May 17

*If you need support administering map, please reach out to the testing coordinator in your building.


As a reminder, the decision was made to remove the winter testing requirement for high schools. Teachers who use MAP as a part of their progress monitoring process may still offer a winter test, but the data pull will no longer be attached to it. Hopefully that frees up some instructional time.

Guides and Topic Assessments

Have you found any errors on topic assessments or curriculum guides? The switch in personnel left a few things lost in translation. I am working to fix any errors as quickly as they are pointed out to me. I appreciate your feedback and want you to have the tools you need to do your job. Never be afraid to point out a mistake to me.


Topic Assessments should be considered as part of the overall assessment plan for each topic. They function well as a pre-test, or diagnostic. Their design also supports on-going exposure to standardized formatting and cold-reading. I discourage their use solely as summative assessments, although some are better for that purpose than others. I trust your judgement at professionals as to how these assessments function best for your students and your classroom.

Strategy Snapshots

Have you checked out the first edition of the Strategy Snapshot? The first installment was sent out 8/29!

Tell me what you think! I'd love to provide you with the resources and strategies to improve your day to day work with students. If you are willing to provide some feedback regarding this resource, click the link below.

Long Term Sub database

The search for a long-term sub can often be difficult. I was fortunate with my daughter to be able to use a former student teacher, but had to take the luck of the draw with my son being an early September baby. As the new year begins and you start to find subs who are a good fit for the ELA content, I'd love to have their names and be able to support teachers in this hunt. If you know of a student teacher who is currently subbing, or a good sub in the district who may be willing to take a long-term job, please send me their names.

A colleague has already reached out needing a sub starting in October.

This has not traditionally been an easy process and I would like to aid in this where I can.