English Language Arts

Fishtank Learning

Our Department’s Vision for ELA & Literacy Instruction:

Cambridge Public Schools scholars are empowered to use literacy as a tool for communication, self-expression, access and agency. Instruction is research-based, joyful, rigorous and relevant, building a wealth of vocabulary and content knowledge through rich texts and media. Scholars develop their voice and independence as critically conscious readers, writers, speakers and learners through materials that are inclusive of diverse authors, genres, cultures and perspectives. Scholars are empowered with the knowledge and skills to live choice-filled lives that positively impact the world around them.

ELA/Literacy Department Overarching Goals:

  1. District and state assessment data will demonstrate high and equitable achievement across student demographic groups.
  2. Scholars will engage in common, high-quality and culturally responsive curriculum and instruction, and opportunities to participate in shared learning experiences across schools.
  3. Literacy curriculum, coaching and professional development will align to our department’s vision, district priorities, and research-based, culturally responsive practices.
  4. All students will demonstrate the ability to use their literacy knowledge and skills as an effective tool for communication, advocacy, self expression and access.
ELA / Literacy Department Strategic Plan:
The ELA/Literacy department is engaged in a strategic, multi-year process designed to align educator knowledge, curriculum and practice in core instruction and intervention. This alignment is critical to ensuring students receive instructional resources and learning opportunities that result in increased and equitable student outcomes.

Priority Action 1: Curriculum Review & Adoption

Launch a JK-8 literacy curriculum review process that results in common, research-based and culturally responsive curriculum and instruction.

SY 2022-2023: Upper School Curriculum Review: Grades 6-8

SY 2023-2024: Select Elementary Grades Reviewed; 6-8 Implemented

SY 2024-2025: Remaining Elementary Grades Reviewed; Reviewed Elementary Grades Implemented
Priority Action 2: Provide and support comprehensive, long-term professional development in the Science of Reading to inform educator practice and upcoming reviews of ELA and intervention curriculum.

SY 2022-2023: Units 1-2 cohorts A-D (160+ educators, including special education, SEI/ESL and interventionists)

SY 2023-2024: Units 3-4 Cohorts A-D (160+ educators, including special education, SEI/ESL and interventionists); Units 1-2 Cohorts E-F.

SY 2024-2025: Units 3-4 Cohorts E-F.
Priority Action 3: Through the Literacy Leadership Team (LLT), develop explicit educator guidance, resources and support to successfully implement a JK-12 instructional focus that is grounded in research-based literacy practices.

SY 2022-2023: Through the LLT, build shared knowledge and educator guidance related to the: (1) Quantitative and qualitative components of text complexity (2) Development of cognitively demanding tasks (3) Instructional scaffolds that support all students in accessing grade-appropriate instruction.

SY 2023-2024: Support district-wide implementation of the instructional focus through professional learning opportunities and cross-school learning walks.
Priority Action 4: Develop common policies, tools and resources to ensure literacy assessment practices are consistent, efficient and effectively utilized to assess and address students’ needs.

SY 2022-2023: Review current assessment practices; identify a common, research-based, DESE-approved JK-2 assessment platform.

SY 2023-2024: Launch a new JK-2 literacy assessment platform with ongoing educator professional learning opportunities. Establish and support common 3-8 assessment tools and practices.

Related Links
ELA/Literacy Educator Coaching
ELA Content by Grade
ELA Curriculum Site (For Staff)
CPS Literacy Curriculum Review [Process Overview]
i-Ready Personalized Learning [Overview]
Fishtank Learning

Contact Us

135 Berkshire Street 
Cambridge, MA 02141
Fax: 617.349.6517

Emily Bryan, English Language Arts Curriculum Coordinator
Katherine Simpson, Elementary District Literacy Coach
Katie Gribben, Interim Upper School District Literacy Coach
Sarah Foleno, Upper School District Literacy Coach
Kelley Leary, ELA Clerk
Jennifer Hamilton, Dean of Curriculum & Program, English (Learning Community C) CRLS

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