Curriculum & Instruction
The Curriculum & Instruction Department oversees the teaching and individual support that each District 401 student receives.
Director for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Kimberly Ontiveros leads the department.
It is District 401's vision to provide all of our students the opportunity to be successful in meeting and surpassing the rigorous expectations of the Illinois State Learning Standards.
These standards are a culmination of the Common Core English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework.
The District believes that improving upon a student's ability to read, write, collaborate and problem solve will allow the student to have a more fruitful experience within the core contents.
An Articulated Curriculum
Our curriculum is designed to ensure that students leave District 401 ready for college success, career fulfillment and a lifetime of continual learning.
To this end, the District has used the opportunity created by our Technology Initiative to build a K-12 curriculum that is articulated across and within subjects, grade levels and schools.
"Articulation" refers to the coordination and logical progression of learning objectives within curricular content areas, from course to course and from grade to grade.
When a curriculum is articulated, staff and administration use the same language and expectations. This allows the District's teachers to collaborate more effectively within — as well as across — schools and grade levels. Students receive a seamless learning experience, regardless of the school they attend or the classroom they are assigned to.
For example, if a student is enrolled in 5th grade at one of our two elementary schools, the curriculum in that student's classroom will be the same as the one in our other 5th-grade classrooms. The instruction may be differentiated to meet specific needs and strengths, but the fundamental standards, objectives and curriculum materials will be the same.
An Interactive Curriculum
To put this articulated framework into action, District 401 faculty members use standards-based curriculum materials featuring interactive e-texts. Our e-texts include the following:
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
► STEMscopes for K-8 science
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL)
► Committee for Children | Second Step SEL for PK-8 social and emotional learning
► Pearson | Adobe Dreamweaver CC Classroom in a Book for 9-12 Web Design
► Pearson | Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book for 9-12 Computer Graphics I & II
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
► Pearson | MyPerspectives for 9-12 English Language Arts
► Cambridge | English Vocabulary in Action for 9-12 English as a Second Language
► Oxford | Grammar Sense Interactive for 9-12 English as a Second Language
► Pearson | Side by Side for 9-12 English as a Second Language
► Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Avancemos 1 for 9-12 Spanish I
► Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Avancemos 2 for 9-12 Spanish II
► Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Avancemos 3 for 9-12 Spanish III
► Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Avancemos 4 for 9-12 Spanish IV
► Pearson | Health for 9-12 Health
► Bedford, Freeman & Worth | Practice of Statistics for 9-12 AP Statistics
► McGraw-Hill | Core-Plus Mathematics for 9-12 Core-Plus Math I-IV
► Pearson | Blitzer's Precalculus for 9-12 Precalculus
► Pearson | Calculus Graphical, Numerical, Algebraic for 9-12 AP Calculus
► Pearson | enVision A|G|A Common Core Algebra 1 for 9-12 Algebra 1
► Pearson | enVision A|G|A Common Core Algebra 2 for 9-12 Algebra 2
► Pearson | enVision A|G|A Common Core Geometry for 9-12 Geometry
► Cengage Learning and OWL2 Resources | Chemistry for 9-12 AP Chemistry
► McGraw-Hill | Human Anatomy & Physiology for Anatomy
► Pearson | Biology (Miller & Levine) for 9-12 Biology
► Pearson | Chemistry (Wilbraham) for 9-12 Chemistry
► Pearson | Physics (Gianncoli) for 9-12 AP Physics 1 & 2
► Pearson | Physics (Hewitt) for 9-12 Physics
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL)
► Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence | RULER for 9-12 SEL
► Bedford, Freeman & Worth | America's History for 9-12 AP United States History
► Bedford, Freeman & Worth | Ways of the World for 9-12 AP World History
► Pearson | Cultural Landscape: Intro to Human Geography for 9-12 AP Human Geography
► Pearson | Government in Action for 9-12 AP Government
► Pearson | Magruder's American Government for 9-12 Civics
► Pearson | United States History for 9-12 United States History
► Pearson | World History for 9-12 World History
These digital materials offer multimedia resources to our students, and they are regular updated by their respective publishers.
To assist teachers with the use of these and other curriculum offerings, the District established two instructional coaching positions in 2018: one in math and science, the other in ELA and social studies. A third District-level coaching position — in language — was created in 2020.
Instructional coaching focuses on what it means to improve as a teacher. Coaches and teachers work together in a partnership model, through embedded support and professional development, to have a profound impact on student learning.
The job of our instructional specialists is to provide support for teachers in the implementation of effective practices to ensure the high academic achievement of all students.
College & Career Pathways
Elmwood Park High School and Elm Middle School now offer courses as part of the District's College & Career Pathways, an initiative focused on better aligning EPHS and Elm curricula with the post-secondary pursuits of our students.
The goal of the College & Career Pathways is to better prepare D401 students to compete and succeed in the global economy.
With the help of aligned programs of study and pathway exploration, students will graduate with well-developed post-secondary plans, stronger experiential learning opportunities and a diverse set of skills suited for academic and career success.
Starting at Elm Middle School, students will be encouraged to explore a variety of interests aligned to future careers.
As students enter EPHS, they will continue with coursework opportunities that focus on college and career pathways of interest with significant depth.
To learn more about the program, please click here.
Our adoption of new curriculum materials and e-texts, our use of instructional coaching, our embrace of digital learning technology and our innovative approaches to college and career pathways are just some of the ways our District strives to best serve our students, their parents and the Elmwood Park community.
We believe in our students and will continue to work to provide them the most positive and meaningful education experience they deserve.
For More Information
To learn more about curriculum and instruction in District 401, we invite you to visit the pages listed in the section below, or click the links located in the left-hand column of this page.
- Accelerated Learning Opportunities
- Accessing Curriculum from Home
- Assessment Calendar for 2021-22 (to be posted)
- Assessment of Student Learning
- College & Career Pathway
- Digital Learning in Action
- English Learners
- Grading in District 401 Schools
- Grant Funding for Student Success
- Homework in District 401 Schools
- Instructional Coaching
- Learning Standards
- Library Services
- Multi-Tiered System of Supports
- Reading Program
- Reading Team for 2021-22 (to be posted)
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
- Standards-Based Grading
- State Report Cards
- Student Teacher & Observer Requests
- Summer Learning Academy