Middle Township Public Schools - District Logo

Middle Township School District sees early advancements with new ELA Curriculum

Mar 20, 2024

This district is seeing positive progress with its littlest learners just halfway into year two of the new English Language Arts curriculum rebuild 

Student holding pencil writing on paperCape May Court House, NJ – Middle Township School District (MTSD) embarked on an ambitious curriculum overhaul in 2022, selecting Units of Study and Fundations for teaching English Language Arts (ELA). Now, just halfway through its second year, test results and other data are proving that the decision to transition was a wise one.  

Committed to providing students with a comprehensive and cohesive learning experience, MTSD teachers and administrators invested time into extensive training to ensure they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively implement the new curriculum. Other financial investments made were essential for providing students with access to learning materials that support their academic growth and development. 

Students’ ELA scores have seen promising gains after adopting the program. At Elementary #1, Principal Christian Paskalides noted: 

  • 86% of the kindergarten students were at or above the benchmark on the Unit 1 Phonics Assessment – an 8% improvement over last year 
  • First grade had a 15% increase in students at or above the benchmark on Star Early Literacy 
  • Second grade had a 19% increase in students at or above the benchmark on Star Reading 
  • On the first grade writing assessment, the number of students at the satisfactory level increased from 7 to 85 

“You can read articles and reports and draw conclusions, but the true litmus test lies in consulting the individuals actively engaged in the work: the teachers,” said Paskalides. “Their assessment of these changes is overwhelmingly positive, and it is worth noting that teachers are often their toughest critics. Implementing a new curriculum demands substantial effort, meticulous planning and continuous professional development. Remarkably, my teachers not only embraced this challenge but are also achieving tangible results.”  

Paskalides said more than a year of thoughtful and thorough research went into selecting a new ELA program that fits the MTSD student population best, and he is pleased and excited with the results. The program offers flexibility, which meets the learning needs of all the students, and teachers are reporting that students are more actively contributing to literary discussions and tackling advanced comprehension tasks. 

“While work remains to meet every child’s needs, early wins suggest a bright future,” said MTSD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Toni Lehman. “The Units’ balanced literacy approach is empowering students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking development – as evidenced by increasing proficiency.” 

Beyond testing, Units of Study and Fundations are getting robust usage in ELA classrooms. Teacher program competency is noteworthy, as evidenced by lesson-planning efficiency and confidence in teaching key skills. To further enhance this effectiveness, ongoing support and training are provided, ensuring educators are fully prepared to make the most of the curriculum’s resources. 

“The district’s financial commitment to this initiative is proving early on to be a worthwhile investment,” said MTSD superintendent Dr. Dave Salvo. “While any change often meets with some level of skepticism, the achievements of our teachers and students are a source of pride. We remain optimistic and eager to see how future data trends will continue to validate our efforts and the positive impact of the curriculum overhaul.” 

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.