Curriculum and Instruction Updates

Resources for Bellingham's Instructional Staff

I hope that you find this resource helpful. If there are topics that you would like to see included, please email me. The topics I have chosen to include at this point are based on frequently asked questions, curriculum updates, and updates from DESE on curriculum and licensure. Each time I add new information, I will send an email out with a new link to this site. You may also want to bookmark the site or create a shortcut on your desktop for future reference. I hope you all have an AMAZING school year. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of assistance.

Carolyn Rafferty

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Curriculum Review Cycle Update: September 14, 2020


As we enter our third year of the Math Review Cycle, we are continuing to move forward with the action steps identified during the self-study completed last fall. We are entering our second year of full implementation with Bridges in grades K-5. This year, we are piloting new resources in grades 6-8. Last year, our math teachers in grades 6-8, along with our Math Specialist and Math Department Coordinator, evaluated curriculum resources using Curate and EdReports to select a high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum. We explored two potential programs and ultimately decided on Illustrative Math (IM) with a supplemental resource, ALEKS from the publisher, McGraw Hill.

Illustrative Math

llustrative Mathematics is a problem-based core curriculum for 21st-century learners designed to address content and practice standards to foster learning for all, preparing students to solve problems, reason, communicate, and think critically in the classroom and beyond.


ALEKS is an adaptive math program that provides each student with a personalized learning path. Using engaging answer tools, immediate feedback, and automatic assessments, ALEKS helps students review and master the skills needed to be successful in their math class.

An overview video of ALEKS for parents

History/Social Sciences

Last fall, we formed a History/Social Sciences Review Team and launched the self study for History/Social Sciences. Over the course of the school year, grade level teams studied the newly revised History/Social Sciences Frameworks with a particular focus on the Guiding principles and the Practices standards incorporated in the new frameworks. After doing so, teams began to work on examining standards alignment using our existing curriculum materials. This process helps us to identify needs for new and/or additional materials.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, we temporarily suspended work on the self-study. As we enter into the 2020-2021 school year, we will need to pull the History/Social Sciences Review Team back together to pick up where we left off in the spring. The goal for this year is to finish the self-study and move into the second phase of the process Develop and Redesign. The purpose of this phase of the Curriculum Review Process is to develop and redesign the curriculum documents and to begin implementation of the action steps put into place by the self-study action plan. Elements of the development and redesign of the curriculum may include:

  • Identify/Revise: Scope and Sequence, Enduring Understandings, Essential Questions, Content, Skills, Assessments, and Learning Activities

  • Research, pilot, and recommend evidence-based instructional materials

  • Propose, present, and publish new curriculum documents for the school community

  • Identify ongoing professional development needs

Of importance to note, we are piloting new resources in grades 6-8 this year.

Grade 8 will be utilizing the United States and Massachusetts Government and Civic Life. Grades 6 and 7 will be utilizing World Geography and Ancient Civilizations I and II.

To learn more about these programs click on the link below.

English Language Arts (ELA)

The launch of our ELA Curriculum Review, intended to begin this fall, has been delayed while we work to complete the History/Social Sciences Self-Study. Meanwhile, we have decided to take advantage of an offering provided by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Evaluating and Selecting High-Quality Instructional Materials Network. Over the summer, our team participated in an informational session to gather insight as to what to expect from our participation in this network.

Strengthening Curriculum in Massachusetts - Theory of Action:

If schools and districts have the information and support they need to provide teachers with high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum materials, and if sustainable and collaborative professional learning structures help teachers to use those materials to orchestrate student learning skillfully, then teacher and students experiences, and ultimately outcomes, will improve.

Network Goals:

  • Build curriculum literacy and knowledge of the curricular materials selection process

  • Self evaluate, document progress, and complete one or more phases of the curriculum selection process

  • Collaborate, participate actively, and share updates during virtual and in-person meetings

  • Create and submit action plans describing how the next steps in the process will be completed

Our intent is to use the work we complete during our participation in this network to prepare ourselves for the launch of the ELA Curriculum Review in the spring of 2021.

Educator Evaluation System

While the 4 Standards, 16 Indicators, and 33 elements in the Model Rubric for teachers are the foundation for Bellingham's Educator Evaluation System, we have chosen to emphasize what we call Power Standards, due to how closely they align with the District Vision and our improvement and strategic planning documents. The Power Standards include:

I-A-4. Well Structured Lessons - Develops well-structured lessons with challenging, measurable objectives and appropriate student engagement strategies, pacing, sequence, activities, materials, resources, technologies, and grouping.

I-C-3. Sharing Conclusions With Students - Based on assessment results, provides descriptive feedback and engages students and families in constructive conversation that focuses on how students can improve their performance.

II-D-3. Access to Knowledge - Consistently adapts instruction, materials, and assessments to make challenging material accessible to all students, including English learners and students with disabilities.

III-B-2. Curriculum Support - Regularly updates parents on curriculum throughout the year and suggests strategies for supporting learning at school and home, including appropriate adaptation for students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.

IV-B-1. Professional Learning and Growth - Consistently seeks out and applies, when appropriate, ideas for improving practice from supervisors, colleagues, professional development activities, and other resources to gain expertise and/or assume different instruction and leadership responsibilities.

Teach Point

Teach Point is the tool that Bellingham uses to store our evaluation forms. Teach Point can be accessed from our district webpage under Employee Information or at the link provided below. All DESE licensed educators and administrators need to be able to access this site to complete the requirements of the Educator Evaluation System:

Form 1- Educator Plan Form with IPDP for educators that hold a DESE Professional License

Form 1a - Educator Plan for for educators that hold a DESE Initial and/or Provisional License

Forms 2 and 3 - Announced and Unannounced Observation Forms

Form 4 - Evidence Collection Forms

Forms 5-7 - Formative and Summative Evaluations

Form 8 - Educator Response Forms

Your building principal will hold a Supervision and Evaluation training during one of the first staff meetings to review the district expectations for this process.

If you have not been given log-in information or have any difficulty during the year accessing Teach Point, please contact me directly at so I can assist.

Big picture

Update Resources from DESE

  1. Updated resources

BPS Curriculum Review Process

This curriculum review process provides the Bellingham School district with a procedural system for the systematic ongoing evaluation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment across all content areas. A high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum is essential to supporting the teaching and learning process. Our district believes that exemplary teaching and a high-quality curriculum will equip our students for success after graduation in whatever path they choose. Participating in curriculum review provides the opportunity for careful evaluation of our current practice in order to maintain high academic standards and educational opportunities for all students, to align to local, state, and national frameworks, and to remain current with the best instructional practices. Our curriculum review process will be guided by our district vision, theory of action, and beliefs about curriculum.

Accessing your District PD Records

While you are working on your IPDPs, you may want to access your PDP records.

Visit the District Website at

Click on Employee Information and scroll down to Bellingham PD

Click on Log In

Enter your username (first initial and last name)
Enter your password
(If you forgot your password, click on Forgot your Password to create a new one)

Click on the tab for Records on the left side of the screen

This is also a place for you to view upcoming PD Offerings.

Changes to Licensure and Educator Preparation Regulations

Summary Now Available on Changes to Licensure and Educator Preparation Regulations:

On June 27, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00), Educator License Renewal (603 CMR 44.00), and Certification of Supervisors of Attendance (603 CMR 13.00). The amended regulations have been filed with the Secretary of State, and the Office of Educator Licensure has already begun to implement them. In order to assist applicants, school districts, sponsoring organizations and other interested parties, ESE has prepared a summary of the changes. In the near future, ESE will be soliciting public comment on new subject matter knowledge guidelines, a panel review process for educators prepared outside of the United States, and guidelines for the new validity period for the Provisional license.

What is the difference between SEI Endorsement and the 15pdp requirement for Recertification?

Who must hold the endorsement?

Who needs to have the SEI Endorsement at the time of renewal is largely based on what subject(s) the educator teaches (core or non‐core) and whether they have any ELL students in their classroom. If the educator is a core academic teacher who had one or more ELLs in their classroom during their district’s cohort training window, they must possess the SEI Teacher Endorsement in order to renew the license.

As of July 1, 2014, educators applying for their first Initial license (specifically core academic teachers of ELLs and principals/assistant principals and supervisors/directors who supervise or evaluate such teachers) must obtain the SEI endorsement. See applicable licenses below:

  • Core Academic Teachers (early childhood, elementary, teachers of students with moderate and severe disabilities, English, reading, language arts, mathematics, science, civics and government, economics, history, and geography)
  • Academic Administrators (principal/assistant principal or supervisor/director only)

As of July 1, 2016, school districts must ensure that ELLs are assigned to core academic teachers who have obtained the SEI Endorsement, or are required to obtain the Endorsement within a year of the assignment.

Individuals with a core academic teacher license(s) that has been restricted are required to hold the SEI Teacher Endorsement as a licensure requirement in order to renew, advance, or extend the restricted license(s).

This would have happened if you had an ELL student in your class and you DID NOT complete the endorsement class and apply for the endorsement.

What is the 15 pdp requirement?

This is a License Renewal requirement.

A minimum of 150 PDPs is required to renew a Primary area license, or a Primary area license that has been deemed Inactive or Invalid.

At least 90 PDPs in content/pedagogy with no less than 60 PDPs in or related to the content area of the educator's Primary area (Content or content‐based pedagogy)

At least 15 PDPs related to SEI or English as a Second Language

At least 15 PDPs related to strategies for effective schooling for students with disabilities and instruction of students with diverse learning styles

The remaining required 30 PDPs may be earned through either “elective” activities that address other educational issues and topics that improve student learning, or additional content, and/or pedagogy

SEI Requirements for DESE Licensed Educators

Please click on the button below to a presentaion that outlines the TWO SEI requirements for licensed educators in Massachussets.
IPDP: The IPDP should focus on the educator’s goals for strengthening his or her content knowledge and professional skills in his or her license area(s) and for remaining current with other educational developments. The IPDP also should identify the expected goals for improvement in teaching and learning to be achieved over the five‐year period. In addition to the educator’s goals, the Plan must address the goals of the school and/or the district. At least 80% of the proposed PDPs in the educator’s plan must be consistent with the educational needs identified by the school and/or district plan. As outlined in 603 CMR 44.04, educators working in a Massachusetts public school must obtain initial approval and final endorsement of their professional development plans from their supervisor.

Educator Plan:
Each educator must have an Educator Plan according to the regulations (603 CMR 35.06(3). An Educator Plan outlines a course of action that an educator will take to pursue goals. Educator Plans include a minimum of one individual or team goal to improve the educator’s professional practice tied to one or more Performance Standards and a minimum of one individual or team goal to improve the learning, growth, and achievement of the students under the educator’s responsibility. The Educator Plan outlines actions that educators will take in order to attain these goals, including but not limited to: professional development activities, self‐study, and coursework, as well as other resources for completing these actions.

The basic difference is the IPDP adds a tracking mechanism for your PDPs, which are not included in your Educator Plan Form. Much of the language in both plans will be identical.