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4 Essential Steps for Successful Implementation of High-Quality Curriculum Materials


If you are a curriculum leader in your district—such as a curriculum director, principal, or instructional coach—and have recently adopted new High-Quality Curricular Materials (HQCM), you are likely considering the best strategies to ensure a successful rollout. Transitioning to new materials, figuring out pacing, and understanding all the components can be challenging. There’s a lot to juggle! So, what are four things you can do to ensure a successful launch?

1. Start with Your District’s Mission and Vision

You might be thinking, wait…what? Let’s get real, most of the time mission and vision statements are written in a binder, maybe posted in an office or listed at the beginning of the year teachers’ meeting, and that’s where they stay. However, if we want the district to unite around its mission and vision, put it at the forefront of the work. Your why, what, and how should always connect back to the mission.

For example, let’s use this sample mission and vision statement: "We strive to inspire each student to reach their full potential and become lifelong learners." "Our vision is a community of enthusiastic learners empowered to shape the world. Our mission is to foster an inclusive environment that nurtures creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking." Start by finding ways that your new core resource aligns with this mission. Think about it like this: if your new core resource has collaborative work embedded throughout each unit, point that out and tie it back to the mission. Frame the core resource as a tool to help meet the district’s mission and vision.

2. Provide Clear Guidance from the Beginning

Clear guidance creates equity across a district, between schools, and even classrooms within the same school. Be proactive; don’t create a guessing game for teachers. Be clear about how the district expects teachers to use the HQCM and what things leaders are going to be looking for as they visit classrooms.

Make sure your initial training and professional learning sessions answer teachers' questions and plan for ongoing support. One or two days of training before school starts isn’t deep enough to guarantee successful implementation. Continuous support and clear, consistent communication are crucial. Make a year-long strategic plan to keep the momentum going and help focus on learning things all year long. Watch my video to learn how to provide clear guidance.

3. Align with Academic Standards

Be ready to show or learn where and how the Indiana Academic Standards are taught within the core resource (check out our resources for support). When you dive into your HQCM, identify gaps where additional resources might be needed to meet the academic standards. Also, plan for areas where things might get tough for your student population. Work ahead of time to ensure that all students can access the materials successfully. This proactive approach will help prevent any last-minute scrambles to find supplementary materials.

4. Facilitate Team Collaboration

Set up a system from the very start that allows teachers to work within their teams to collaborate. This time should be focused on preparing for upcoming instruction, reflecting on completed lessons, and analyzing data. Formative assessment data is critical to understanding when to speed up, slow down, or adjust the curriculum roadmap. Ensure grade-level teams effectively use this time and stay focused on instruction. Collaboration among teachers can lead to shared insights and strategies, making the implementation process smoother.

Many times, school districts work tirelessly to decide which instructional materials are the best for their students. Time, effort, and procedures are poured into the process. However, this work is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to successful implementation. Connecting your implementation plan to these four ideas will greatly increase the likelihood of success, ease the anxiousness associated with embarking on a new implementation, and ultimately enhance student learning.

If you are interested in working with April Connelley, send an email to



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