Skip To Main Content

Stiky Header


Search Button

District Header

Lakota Local School District

Local Schools


Search Button

Trigger Container


CCAT Recap: Curriculum Adoption and Program of Studies Explained

CCAT Recap: Curriculum Adoption and Program of Studies Explained

Lakota’s Community Curriculum Advisory Team (CCAT) held its regular meeting on Nov. 16. Using themes derived from the community-wide ThoughtExchange launched earlier this school year, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Lori Brown shared the topics for the evening.

“Once again, we’ll divide our meeting into proactive and reactive parts,” said Brown. “One of the items brought up in the ThoughtExchange included professional development. Krista Heidenreich and Sheri Simpson lead that work and are here to share more about it. We’ll also talk about changes to the program of studies, changes coming down from the State and curriculum adoption.”


Curriculum Adoption Process from the State 

Recently, the Ohio Department of Education announced that it would now be known as the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW). The department is building a state-approved list of curriculum resources for English language arts (ELA). All public school districts in Ohio will be expected to implement the new curriculum for the 2024-2025 school year. “As the team that has been created to be the community voice in this process, we thought it was important that you get a better understanding of how the curriculum adoption will work,” Brown told the CCAT members.

The criteria is expected to be released in January with the list to follow in March. This will force a very quick turnaround for Lakota, but Brown and her team anticipate that the resources will be aligned with those receiving high ratings as reviewed on Ed Reports. This is because the site’s reviews align with state standards. Director of Curriculum, Grades 7-12, Andrew Wheatley added that the curriculum team is already reviewing the highly-rated resources so they will be as prepared as possible once DEW releases its list of approved curriculum. Once the materials are adopted by Lakota, professional development will need to be developed and implemented so teachers can be trained on best practices with the new resources.

Committee member Regina McCall asked if funds will be available from the State for purchasing the new curriculum materials, as well as whether or not the curriculum will include both books and electronic resources. Brown said that funds will be available from the State and that curriculum samples they’ve seen at this point include a combination of resources. She also noted that “We had a math adoption slated for this year,” adding that curriculum adoptions typically follow a five-to-six year cycle. The math adoption will proceed once ELA has been decided.

The committee had additional questions about the website, including:

  • Member Vanessa Wells asked about the thoroughness of the website as a resource. Wheatley said, “It’s a really good starting point (for us).”
  • McCall inquired, “Do you have wiggle room in case a student isn’t at the (learning) level of the textbook?” Brown explained that this is where personalized learning comes in, which allows the teacher to adjust their instruction to meet the needs of individual students. Brown also added that, with the curriculum being aligned with state standards, there should be consistency in the alignment of resources between what the district is currently using and the new resources.
  • Member Michael Albrecht asked if the curriculum department would have used this website as a part of a typical curriculum adoption process. Wheatley confirmed that they would, adding that “the difference is that now there’s a specific list we have to choose from.” 

Brown and Wheatley shared the State’s timeline with the team, which includes publishing the initial approved list of curriculum and instructional materials in January with the final approved list being shared in March. “Once we’ve narrowed our choices down to a few, we’ll pass samples around to gather teacher feedback,” said Brown.

One of the challenges Lakota’s curriculum department is up against is the rubric the State expects schools to follow when selecting the new ELA curriculum. Wheatley explained to the CCAT members that, “The rubric is (currently) in draft form and it’s not expected to be completed in time for us to purchase the curriculum and get it implemented.” In order to overcome this obstacle, Brown and her team are already ordering samples of textbooks they think will make the State’s final list, based on the rubric draft, as well as their own internal rubric. 

Staff Professional Development

In response to the CCAT members’ inquiries about professional development (PD) opportunities, Brown invited Director of Digital Learning K-12 Krista Heidenreich and Assistant Director of Digital Learning Sheri Simpson to the meeting. 

“Sheri & I support K-12 professional development, as well as digital learning,” explained Heidenreich. “We have district level professional development at each grade band and we have things that we do on PD days, called pathways. Pathways are action plans that have been built for grade-specific PD. In addition, we have model courses that help teachers with their daily instruction.”

Lakota’s PD has evolved over the years. Several years ago, PD occurred on Canvas, the district’s learning management system which students also use. Digital instruction and how to enhance teaching with digital tools was added in recent years and is supported through the district’s innovation specialists. 

“Personalized learning, or how you can provide choice for students and differentiate for students, has been a focus most recently,” Heidenreich continued. Examples of personalized learning include a flexible playlist, station rotation and the flipped classroom. “Teachers got really good at this and you’ll see it throughout the district.

“What has come up this year is direct instruction. What are the clear learning targets for students?” Heidenreich went on to explain that this should not be misinterpreted as a teacher lecturing for a full class period. Instead, it includes a process that starts with the teacher’s instruction and then modeling, or guided practice, to ensure that students understand what they are learning. Then, once a teacher is confident that 75% of the class has an accurate understanding of the lesson, the students work on their own. It is at this point when teachers introduce the flexible playlist and other tools while they work with small group instruction. 

Direct instruction will be the focus of the next district-wide PD day as part of the district’s action plan to improve student growth. Growth compares an individual student’s learning data from year to year. The state report card rates this as progress. By focusing on direct instruction, “We’re resetting some norms to make sure that all teachers are working from the same skillset,” said Heidenreich. She also added that it’s imperative to dig into the data because a lack in the progress score doesn’t necessarily mean that more intervention is needed. It can also mean that we need to provide more rigor because the high-achieving students aren’t being pushed enough.

When member Ian Murray asked how the district is informing the community about this, Brown shared, “When the report card came out, Dr. Lolli asked the Board to cancel a regular meeting and have a work session so she and the curriculum team could share an action plan.” In addition to the recording of the meeting, a recap has also been posted on the district website and shared in the monthly newsletter.

“We have a lot of teachers who are working hard and are experts in different areas,” Heidenreich shared. “This year, we’ve created credentials.” As teachers complete modules, they’ll earn different badges. Once all of the modules in a training pathway are completed, teachers will receive a credential that they can display. “We want to continue building a bank of pathways that are focused on things we want them to learn for the benefit of kids in Lakota instead of teachers looking for PD on their own,” she explained.

Sixty-five percent of teachers responding to a poll last year said they would do PD even if it wasn’t required. 

Simpson explained that the district’s 19 innovation specialists will lead the PD sessions. In addition to whole-building PD that aligns with their building’s action plans, they also offer optional PD sessions throughout the year. One-on-one support for teachers interested in trying a different approach to a lesson and “Workout Wednesdays” during the summer are other examples of how innovation specialists support teachers. 

Program of Studies

The final proactive segment of the meeting centered around changes to the Program of Studies. The list of courses offered at secondary buildings changes regularly based on, for example, the needs of students, state requirements and even feedback from community conversations.

The changes that are being introduced for the 2024-2025 school year, pending Board approval in December, are centered around providing opportunities and flexibility for students. “We looked at the requirements to get in higher level courses because if you want to take them and the data shows you can handle the work, you should be able to be in it,” explained Wheatley. “We’re trying to create new onramps for students - including if you move into the district (and their course of studies doesn’t align with Lakota’s).”

One of the biggest changes includes removing high school credit from junior school courses. “It might sound counterintuitive, but it actually creates some problems,” explained Wheatley. “The biggest area is social studies. We’re compacting two years of learning into one and the feedback is that this is not the best approach,” he continued. “We’re reverting back to one year of learning per year.” Although the team understands that some parents and students may initially be concerned that there won’t be enough room in their high school schedules for electives, Wheatley assured the CCAT members that it is possible.

New course additions include:

  • Next Gen Math Stats at the junior schools
  • Eighth-grade flight & space course through Butler Tech
  • New College Credit Plus (CCP) high school courses 
  • An Artificial Intelligence (AI) course

Senior flex is also getting a makeover next year at the high schools. Senior flex allows seniors to schedule classes so they come in later or leave early. Instead of being able to schedule a minimum number of classes during senior year, for example one or two, students will only be able to take a maximum of two senior flex courses. However, if students need additional accommodations for senior flex, this will be considered through the completion of a form through the guidance office.

“When looking at your high school career, you need to approach it with the end goal in mind,” said Wheatley. “We don’t want you to get to your senior year and say, ‘I wish I would have known…’”

“This is amazing to see the culmination of work presented this way,” said committee member Diane Wiater. “You can see how much work has been put into this for the district.”

“This is a lot of great information. What does this committee do with that?” asked Murray.

Brown asked the team to “bring on more questions and challenges. We want to show you and the community that we’re being responsive to the needs of our students.”

Wheatley agreed. “Push us if you think this is not a way you would have done it. We want the challenges and feedback.”


During the reactive portion of the meeting, Brown updated the team that the curriculum department had received two Lakota Listens submissions. However, one was for a different department and one involved a parent’s concern about the removal of an app that their student had used in class. Brown shared that, upon researching the app, Lakota pays for a similar app that is more secure and does not allow advertisements. 

Brown also shared that the Board will be approving all apps in the near future. The district is currently reviewing apps and will compile a list that will be presented to the Board for approval in January.

The next CCAT meeting will be determined after the Board’s organizational meeting in January.

  • curriculum
  • school board
  • thought exchange