English Language Arts Dispatch

August 2015, SUHSD - Putting Students First


New ELA Teachers

* Welcome to any new ELA teachers or teachers new to our district!

* Here's the self-enroll link for the SUHSD Curriculum & PD course, if you're not yet enrolled.

ELA Cohort & Zones

* This first round of zones we considered how teaching with a Growth Mindset can help students take risks, value progress and view challenges as learning opportunities.

* Teachers worked toward revising Instructional Guides; in each zone, teachers suggested student evidence and resources for a variety of student outcomes from the Instructional Guides.

* Most of our work this year will be grounded in the new California English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework. It is a large document. PLCs may want to designate time to read portions of it. Chapter 8: Assessment will frame our next Cohorts/Zones.

* The focus of next zones will be grading and evaluating student work. Come ready to share your grading policies, practices and philosophies.

Performance Tasks

* This year's Semester 1 performance tasks are the same as last year's. All grade levels will read and respond to texts relating to the the topic of college. You may access the PTs on the ELA section of the Curriculum Canvas page.

* PLCs are encouraged to give the PTs prior to the next Cohort/Zone meetings. Since we will be discussing grading and evaluating student work, this would be a excellent opportunity to bring in student samples.

* This year, no score will be required to be entered in to either Data Director or Illuminate. However, PLCs can use the PTs to determine what students can produce and to inform their instruction.


* Senate Bill (SB) 172 (Liu), sponsored by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Tom Torlakson, proposes to suspend the administration of the high school exit examination for three years, and the requirement that students pass this examination as a condition of graduation from high school. Under the proposed bill, the administration of the examination would be suspended during the 2016–17, 2017–18, and 2018–19 school years, or when the approved high school exit examination is no longer available.

SUHSD Professional Development

ERWC Training

ERWC Training for High School

Sweetwater is hosting an Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) High School Certification; this is a 4 day training. You must be certified to teach the 12th grade course. However, the FREE training is open to all teachers and provides access to the 7-12 grade modules.

The SUHSD cohort (Sept. 10-11, Oct. 22, Dec. 1) is now full; thanks to all who signed up! If you missed this round of ERWC training, don’t fret, other dates are available. http://www.sdcoe.net/lls/ccr/Pages/Professional-Development.aspx

ERWC for Middle School

We also have an ERWC workshop for middle school teachers that starts Sep 29. You can register for the middle school workshop from the SDCOE webpage: http://www.sdcoe.net/lls/ccr/Pages/Professional-Development.aspx

Other Professional Development Opportuinities

Join NCTE - National Council of Teachers of English

Click here and become a member of NCTE!

Join CATE-California Association of Teachers of English

Click the link and become a member of CATE!


ERWC 12th Grade

This year we are excited to have many high schools again offering the 12th grade Expository Reading and Writing Course #91830. The goal of the Expository Reading and Writing Course is to prepare college-bound seniors for the literacy demands of higher education. The course was specifically designed to give students whose scores on the EAP (now CAASSP) indicate that they are not yet prepared for college-level academic reading and writing an opportunity to develop needed proficiencies before arriving on campus to discover they have been placed in a developmental English class.

Through a sequence of fourteen rigorous instructional modules, students in this year long, rhetoric-based course develop advanced proficiency in expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing. The cornerstone of the course—the assignment template—presents a process for helping students read, comprehend, and respond to nonfiction and literary texts. The course materials also include modules on two full-length works (one novel and one work of nonfiction). The key to the ERWC is the Assignment Template which can be used with literature as well as informational text. Because the goal is to teach students how to read, how to think critically about their reading, and how to write critically about that reading, the choice of particular texts for doing so is quite flexible.

Literacy TA


To support your school-wide literacy efforts, we have purchased LiteracyTA subscription for all teachers. LiteracyTA is a planning and instructional tool to help you “accelerate all students’ abilities to read, speak, and write about texts.” With your school membership, LiteracyTA will maximize and support your site literacy foci by facilitating shared understandings of key literacy skills, helping PLCs develop “quality first instruction,” providing teachers access to explicit instructional strategies, and other benefits that develop a culture of literacy school-wide.

Each site has a Literacy TA contact person. You should have received Welcome e-mails from LiteracyTA with instructions to login using your sweetwaterschools.org address (unless you submitted a different address) and to create a password. If you already have a subscription to Literacy TA, this will extend your current subscription for one year, if you used the same e-mail account.

We invite you to join us on September 8th (Tuesday), 1:00-3:00 in Room A/B for a 2-hour LiteracyTA overview with Jonathan LeMaster. We will also provide you an extra 2 hours of extra-duty pay should you need the time to plan your school-wide literacy efforts.

Read 180 Update

At the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, all Read 180 middle school Fundamentals courses began using the Scholastic Read 180 Next Generation Program. We are excited to announce that this year all SUHSD Read 180 courses (middle school and high school) will move from Read 180 Enterprise Edition to the upgraded Read 180 Next Generation Program.

Read 180 Next Generation is a research-based program that is aligned with the Common Core and is proven to raise reading achievement for struggling readers. One new feature, Next Generation Stretch Texts, exposes students to grade level text, with scaffolds and teacher support.

New features include student accessibility to the following items on the iPad:

Read 180 Next Generation software program

Scholastic Reading Inventory

Scholastic Reading Counts

rSkills Tests

Read 180 eBooks and eReads

For any Read 180 Questions, please direct your inquires to Shiela Fernandez.

2015 CATE Creative Writing Contest for Students

Prompt: Write about how and why a text has inspired you to learn more, write more, read more or live differently. Entry may be in the form of a poem, an essay, or a piece of fiction. Deadline: Nov. 1, 2015

One Book, One San Diego y One Book Sin Fronteras

This year's book selection for San Diego County is Shadow of the Wind by Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

For the first time, One Book, One San Diego is expanding south of the border. It's partnering with the Association of Librarians of Baja California for a new program called “One Book Sin Fronteras.” It includes 22 local libraries and the Spanish translation of "Shadow of the Wind," "La Sombra del Viento."

The titles chosen for younger readers this year are: "The Dumbest Idea Ever” and “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."

One Book Events and Resources:


Know a Teacher Whose Work Should Be Recognized?

Nominate him or her using the form below. We would like to feature SUHSD teachers in action in the next edition.

ELA Curriculum Team


District ELA Curriculum Specialist, Contact for Zones: 1A, 2B, 3B, 4A

Rhea Faldoenea-Walker

District ELA Curriculum Specialist, Contact for Zones: 1B, 2A, 3A, 4B

Gina Vattuone

SpEd ELA and Read180

Shiela Fernandez

English Learner Programs Instructional Specialist: SEI/BIL/DL

Rebecca Robinson

ELD Curriculum & Instructional Specialist

Lisa Burgess