Interviews needed, Please

Discussion in 'General Education' started by purplecrazy21, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2007

    Hello!
    I have a problem I am hoping you can help me with. I don't normally like posting these types of questions on the board, but since it is summer, I do not have many teachers to talk to right now. I am taking a master's class on curriculum development this summer. I am in need of teachers or administrators, that have been directly involved in a textbook selection process, to interview about curriculum and textbook selection. I will post the questions here, and I would love as many teachers as possible to respond. You can PM me with your responses. Thank you so much, in advance, for any help you can give me.

    A. What state do you teach in? Public or private school?

    1. What are the steps in a book selection process that your school or district uses?

    2. What activities and/or strategies appear to be the most successful in selecting a series?

    3. What are some suggestions you would have for districts relating to what they should and should not do during this process?

    4. Who made the final decision about the curriculum adoption or revision?

    5. How was the curriculum implemented?

    6. What were the successes and callenges in the process?

    Thank you again! I look forward to your responses!
     
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  3. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    *bump*
    Any takers on the questions? I will be forever greatful to you! :)
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I'd love to help, but I haven't been a part of our textbook selection process yet. It happened a few years before I was hired.
     
  5. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I imagine that happens to a lot of teachers. Not too many get the chance to be on a selection comittee, I suppose. I have never been on one either. The closest I've come has been to see books for consideration on display at our school board building.
    Thanks for the offer that you would have helped though! :)
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I was math department chair at my school for 4 years. (Sorry, I saw this post yesterday and meant to get back to it.)

    A. What state do you teach in? Public or private school?
    - I'm in a Catholic Jr/Sr HS in NY.

    1. What are the steps in a book selection process that your school or district uses?
    - In a nutshell, we search far and wide for sample textbooks to look at. Everyone currently teaching the course, as well as the dept. chair, voices an opinon. The assistant principal probably has final say, but I never dealt with an override.
    In our area, at least, we're only allowed to change textbooks once every 5 years. The textbooks are supplied by the public school districts, and that's their rule.

    2. What activities and/or strategies appear to be the most successful in selecting a series?
    - We choose only for our own school: a math department of 12 or so teachers. So it's incredibly informal; eveyone involved has a say. Obviously it would be a different matter to choose for an entire district.

    3. What are some suggestions you would have for districts relating to what they should and should not do during this process?
    - I think it's probably a good idea to have an idea of what you're looking for first. In math, for us, that means lots and lots of problems in varying levels of difficulty. That's our number one priority. For many others, it might be clarity of explanation.
    I did some freelance writing last year for a math textbook. One of their priorities was lots of "white space" (honest!!!) they didn't want too many problems out of fear that the book would be too intimidating to kids. But whatever it is, you should agree ahead of time as to what you're looking for.

    4. Who made the final decision about the curriculum adoption or revision?
    Final: the Assistant Principal. Realistic: the department chair usually.

    5. How was the curriculum implemented?
    - Pretty much as it had been before. Our Juniors are now working with a new textbook; the old one went out of print. There are 2 chapters it doesn't cover; those chapters are done by handout. We decided on a syllabus, and adapt the text to it, not the reverse.

    6. What were the successes and callenges in the process?
    - Aside from the problem I just mentioned, not too much really. I'm fortunate in that my department is good; we know our stuff and genuinely like each other. As a result, it was fairly easy to get a dialogue going on textbooks. I would drop a memo in everyone's mailbox, asking them to take a look and give me comments when they had a chance. Within a day or two, we had a decision.


    - I'm sorry I'm not of more help. I would imagine the process is vastly different in a large district.
     
  7. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Bless you, Alice! :) Thank you so much for answering this. You were a HUGE help. Since I also am working at a Catholic school this year, it is nice to have a perspective from there too. It was interesting to me that the public schools can supply your text books. That wasn't the case at the Catholic school I was at the year before last. We had to buy our own.
    I kind of agree with the lots of white space in the math book, although it seems kind of silly. I remember being very intimidated by my math books when I was younger because of all the problems on a page!
    Again, thank you! You were more than helpful to me. I enjoyed your perspective and now I have enough information to write my summary. :)
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I'm pretty sure it's a state by state thing.

    In NY, or at least in Nassau County, the public school districts supply textbooks and busses for the kids in non-public schools.
     
  9. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jul 27, 2007

    I am VERY fortunate that the county I teach in actually involves ALL of the affected teachers to have the opportunity to review materials for adoption and have a vote. Each teacher received multiple sets of materials from various vendors and had the opportunity to see which textbook best fit the curriculum/standards we teach.

    A. What state do you teach in? Public or private school? I teach in a GA public school

    1. What are the steps in a book selection process that your school or district uses? Initially the Curriculum Director contacted all major vendors to obtain preliminary bids for our textbook order and arrange for presentations to the teachers. All math teachers 6-8 in the county were invited to a late afternoon session of presenters of the top 4 bidders (the ones that offered the most bang for the buck) and other companies were allowed to send examination copies/packages for the teachers.

    2. What activities and/or strategies appear to be the most successful in selecting a series? For all of the teachers from my school, it was most beneficial to attend the presentations by the vendors and have our own copy of the materials to review. We were later asked to email our choice for adoption.

    3. What are some suggestions you would have for districts relating to what they should and should not do during this process? I STRONGLY encourage other districts to allow ALL teachers using a particular text to have a say in which is adopted. It gives all stakeholders a sense of ownership and empowerment in the process.

    4. Who made the final decision about the curriculum adoption or revision? We all voted and majority ruled. As it turned out over 85% of the teachers voted for the same text that was adopted.

    5. How was the curriculum implemented? The actual curriculum that we teach was designed by the State of Georgia and has been implemented in stages. The curriculum is K-12 and was rolled out a few grades at a time. It has caused for a few years of low standardized scores while the students in each grade "catch up" to the curriculum, but we are defintely seeing the benefits now.

    6. What were the successes and callenges in the process? Challenges were clear in that there have been gaps for students. The curriculum has been rolled back about two grades. Meaning that was formerly taught in 8th grade is rolling out in 6th, etc. There really has been no easy way to combat this challenge. Our State Supt didn't feel it was feasible to take 12 years to roll out new curriculum (I agree with that) so that made having the gaps the next best choice. I am seeing improvement and really anticipate having a great year this year as my incoming students will have had the new curriculum for the past 4 years.

    I hope this helps!
    Pam
     
  10. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2007

    Pam,
    Thank you so much for your response! It is really nice that all of the teachers got to be involved in the selection process where it applied to them. When my old school was choosing a new religion text, we all got to preview one book and then we got together and talked about the merits of each book. However, the final decision wasn't really up to us. We got to vote, but we had the type of principal that we knew she got the final say and our vote ultimately wouldn't matter. The school did end up choosing a book though that I voted for.
    Anyway, thank you for replying. I am off to finish my report now! :)
     

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