The Curriculum Chronicle

Bonus Back to School Edition (8/21/2019)

Secondary Literacy Website

Links to curriculum guides, topic assessments, and helpful resources for all ELA courses 6-12.

Big picture

We WILL provide complex grade-level texts for all students, every day in service of grade-level cognitive tasks and assessments.

You cannot work harder. You cannot give more of yourself to your students. You cannot love your students more. But our efforts toward this goal will challenge how we approach all aspects of our jobs. What does LOVE look like as a teacher? How do I love you and still hold you to ridiculously high standards?

You need more tools in order to do your jobs well. That has not gone unnoticed. This year will be one of reflection as we assess our texts, our instructional strategies, and our PLC practices in service of our goals. I am grateful for your efforts every single day. I am so grateful to support this group of teachers and hope you know I am always your advocate!

Upcoming Deadlines and Requests

  • 8/23 Novel requests for Fall Semester (both in-stock transfer and new purchases)
  • 8/23 eBook requests 8/26
  • 8/26 Curriculum Coordinator PLC visit sign-up
  • 9/15 GEAR for English 3 & English 4
  • 9/15 District PLC sign-up deadline
  • 10/1 BLUE Master's program sign-up (only 1st & 2nd year teachers)
  • 9/3-10/4 MAP testing window

Shout Out!

I need to publicly thank our Des Moines NRI Lead Team for their hours of work aligning our curriculum to the NRI program, attention to detail, and amazing problem solving skills that made yesterday's training possible. This is one of NRI's largest adoptions and doing it with our own people at the helm feels like the kind of work that is sustainable and relevant to our classrooms.

I am beyond grateful for this team and urge you to reach out to any of them with implementation questions as they are more experts on the ground.

Alyssa McDonald - North

Jenna Willson - North

Andy Sutton - Roosevelt

Morgan Schoneberg - Roosevelt

Shawna Green - East

Michelle Ritchie - East

Mailing Lists

Still getting these emails and you think you shouldn't? Someone at your school still isn't getting these messages? Please double check you and your PLC are all receiving my emails. I'd like to avoid emails if possible that clog up your inbox and save information for the monthly newsletter. As we get started this year, you're getting another one early. Yay!
8/20 Feedback Form

Didn't get a chance to provide feedback or ask a question after our welcoming meeting? Here's the link!

District PLCs: 9/27, 12/13, 4/27

Roosevelt High School

4419 Center Street


*All rooms are located on the 2nd floor, North East hallway. Elevator access is located immediately outside the main office. Enter through the front entrance and take either staircase to the 2nd floor.

Parking is located on either the East (Chamberlin Dr.) or West (Center St.) sides of the building. If you park by the track/gym (closest to Hubbell) you will need to cross the breezeway to enter the main building. Please DO NOT park in the Hubbell lot.

PLC/Facilitator Room/Room at TRHS

  • ELA6 Heather Crank 2800
  • ELA7 Stephanie Fholer 2810
  • ELA8 Tonya Richards 2820
  • Eng 1 Kortney Williamson 2870
  • Eng 2 Jasmine Simpson 2880
  • Eng 3 Andy Sutton 2850
  • Eng 4 Shawna Green 2860
  • AP Denine Taylor 2830
  • Reading Intv. Carman Romeo 2840
  • Journalism Natalie Niemeyer 2040

Registration for District PLC will begin Sep.1. Watch for an email from DMSchools with instructions and links. You are required to participate in a District PLC. If you teach in more than one content area, ask your administrator or curriculum coordinator which you should attend either as an area of leadership or an area of growth.

Coordinator PLC Visits

During the first 3 weeks of the semester, I would like to visit each of your buildings and PLCs to meet your teams, see your spaces, and hear your ideas for the semester! This will better enable be to understand our district variance but also see the amazing things you have planned for your students.

These meetings can be full grade level/departments or individual PLCs. If possible, I would like to coordinate so I can visit with multiple PLCs from the same building on the same day to avoid unnecessary travel. Please touch base with your ELA teams to see if there is a time/day that would work best for the majority.

Please select a time using the Doodle poll link below. If none of the listed times work for your team, please reach out via email so we can find an alternative. Please try to select a time prior to August 26th.

Request for Texts & Transfer of Materials: Novels or Textbooks (IMPORTANT)

To streamline our transfer procedures and provide better accountability for the location of texts, please review these updates to our textbook policy.These updates are for every content area, not simply ELA.

Current grade-level adopted textbooks are expected to be housed in buildings and accounted for yearly through the inventory process. A minimum of a class set for each instructor should be available in the building and checked out to teachers by name. Outdated adoptions are not supported by the district and no additional materials are available. Increased or decreased need can be initiated with the curriculum coordinator during yearly inventory.

Classroom sets of novels are available through Central Stores. Please complete a Novel Requisition Request form and the Curriculum Coordinator will initiate a Transfer of Materials Form. Books should be scanned into your building by your textbook manager or librarian prior to distribution to students. Classroom sets should arrive in quantities of 40, or 15 for literature circle sets. Any loss of books at the end of usage must be indicated prior to return back to Central Stores for accurate records and replacement.

!!!!!UPDATE to earlier guidance!!!!!


Use the form linked below to request a text. This includes textbooks and novels. This will be approved or denied by me based on alignment to curriculum and availability.

Please submit text requests for FALL 2019 no later than 8/23 to ensure delivery for Unit 1.

Individual email requests for novels will still result in a request to submit the form. Please start here to avoid redundancy.

Current novel inventory is located in the spreadsheet below. Please consider using texts we already have available in the district prior to initiating a request for new purchases.

Additional support with text acquisition can be directed to Deborah Swigert,, Library & Learning Platform Specialist

NovelSORT Inventory List

Current inventory available in Central Stores. Not all texts we own are currently barcoded. This list is a live document and changes often to check back routinely. Lexile levels are provided as guidance for grade-level selection.

eBook request spreadsheet

If there is a novel you are using and anticipate needing virtual access to check-out to students, please use this link to update the spreadsheet. We will partner with Heartland to provide access.

English III & English IV GEAR forms

In order to fulfill the requirements of text complexity in grades 11 and 12, each PLC must complete the GEAR form located in their curriculum guide to account for the varied and unique genres and time periods those course must cover.

Please submit this form for your FIRST SEMESTER texts to Elizabeth Sheridan no later than 9/15. I will be scheduling a visit to each PLC over the first few weeks of school to assist with any questions and learn more about your plan for the year.

Writing Coach Teacher Edition All Call

Home Instruction is looking for copies of the Prentice Hall Writing Coach Teacher's Editions from all grade levels. If you have copies in your buildings that are not in use, please contact Elizabeth Sheridan or Debbie Swigert and we will collect them from you. Thanks!

No Red Ink Follow Up

NRI is a tool to support your students in grammar and mechanics. Our goal for Year 1 is to follow the pacing materials and diagnostic tests for consistent implementation. We will be providing more resources and training on many aspects of this program over the next few months.

Student Log In:

When students log into their network home page there should be a link for all digital software programs. NRI should now be linked on that page!

Missed the training 8/20? A make-up opportunity will be provided. Stay tuned as I nail out exact dates and times.

If you do not have an account, simply go to the "Sign Up" link and create one using your DMPS email. We can link your accounts with our integrated system after the fact.

Updated Pacing Document

additional updates will be made to this live document as we complete second semester topics.

Achieve 3000

New users/Updates to accounts:

  • Reading Interventionists that are new to the district, please let me know if your building plans to use Achieve 3000 and I will create an account for you.
  • Move schools? Let me know and I can switch your account to the new building.
  • Other users? Wondering if A3K might be right for your program? Ask me! We only hold so many licenses per school site but will certainly provide access for the right cause.

BLUE Program Registration (new-to-profession teachers only)

New-to-profession teachers (in your first or second year of teaching), have you considered joining the BLUE Contract?

BLUE is a unique contract available to our first and second year teachers in DMPS that connects you to two years of specialized professional development about instruction and equity, then enrolls you at Drake University for a Master’s Degree in Culturally Responsive Leadership and Instruction… free of charge! Not only is the master’s degree free, but you also get paid a little extra each year as a BLUE teacher! The program comes with just one notable catch: In order to get the master’s degree for free, you have to remain on the BLUE Contract and teaching in Des Moines for 8 years.

Before you let that scare you away, there’s something about that 8-year commitment you may not have heard before! You get the chance to experience the BLUE program without risk during your first two years. If you find the learning not to your liking, you can leave the program before you start taking your master’s degree courses in the third year, and you won’t owe anything at all. It’s a low-risk way to connect with like-minded teachers from across the district, get extra support and learning, and decide for yourself through firsthand experience if this is the right work for you.

If you have any questions at all about BLUE, contact Jeremy Schwennen ( for answers and exclamation points.

And if you already know that BLUE is a good fit for you, you can join by completing this form:

Registration closes October 1st.

--Jeremy Schwennen

DMPS Mentoring and Induction