Curriculum Adoption

Standard-aligned and modern curriculum materials are critical tools for classroom learning. In the hands of our master teachers, such materials move a student through mastery of fundamental concepts to application and deeper thinking.

General information

How does the adoption process work?

The process is defined by law, District Regulation 2020 - Curriculum Development and Adoption of Core Instructional Materials, and the Issaquah Education Association's contract. A professional adoption committee with content-area teachers is formed under a specific charter that includes the District's Mission and Ends for student learning. The adoption committee reviews state standards and best current research to develop a scope and sequence and common assessments. Prior to any material reviews, the District conducts an online survey to gather feedback about families' experience in the relevant content area and grade level. After the teachers on the committee review the parent-survey data to better understand the family perspective, they invite publishers to submit materials which they thoroughly analyze against their established criteria.

Materials undergo an intensive, evidence-based review process that usually includes student field testing, expert panels, and comparison of lessons and alignment across grade levels/courses. Once the selection is narrowed to two or three programs, Issaquah parents and community members are invited to preview the materials. Next, the committee selects its top choice and makes a recommendation to the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC). The IMC evaluates the recommended materials to ensure they comply with state law and district regulations (no bias or prejudice, for example), that the teacher committee followed its process, and that the content is appropriate for the students' age level. The IMC's review and decision kicks off a two-week public review of the materials with opportunity for comments. The IMC's recommendation and public comments then go to the Issaquah School Board, which has the option to approve the adoption. If not approved, the District retains the current curriculum until the adoption process can repeat itself.

What is the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) and who is on it?

The IMC is legally required by the state and is the only body that can send a curriculum recommendation to the School Board. It reviews a teacher committee's material recommendation solely for compliance with state and federal laws, the goals and objectives of the District, and procedures established by the IMC. The IMC does not evaluate materials to determine the merits or comparison of their instructional content. It is comprised of 16 voting members and a non-voting chairperson. Up to five are community members from each Director District who are selected by the superintendent. The other members include librarians, special education teachers, and core content teachers. More information about the IMC and adoption policies and procedures is online. If you would like to volunteer for the IMC, contact Teaching and Learning Services, 425-837-7048.

How important is the "right" text book?

Curriculum materials are one important piece of student learning. The best materials align with state learning standards and support research-based, powerful instructional practices. With such effective tools, a master teacher—the most important educational factor in a child's learning—will be able to spend more time on delivery and differentiation than if s/he had to also create supplemental materials and lesson plans to fill the gaps in a sub-par curriculum. In the words of Randy Dorn, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, "Successful [educational] programs may exist with virtually any … curricula. While instructional materials matter, other factors contribute to the success of students in Washington State learning ... Those factors include quality of instruction, parent involvement, available supports and myriad other aspects." Luckily, Issaquah is rich in all of these areas. Beyond the materials themselves, a curriculum adoption often contributes to student success because of collective teacher renewal, training, and commitment to best instructional practices.