Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Curriculum Policy Update


Dear Program Directors:

As Massachusetts implements WIOA, the focus on improving educational functioning levels and other outcomes will increase. This letter signals the first in a series of policy changes that increase flexibility and reduce requirements so programs may better focus on those outcomes. The Department's primary goals will not change: that all adult learners have access to effective teachers, administrators, and rich instructional programs that prepare them for careers and postsecondary education.

Programs are working hard to improve student learning and college and career readiness by aligning curriculum and instruction to the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRS) with the goal that by June 30, 2019, all students at all levels will benefit from high quality, CCRS-aligned curriculum and instruction. However, because the field has repeatedly indicated that this crucial work is both challenging and time consuming, ACLS has relaxed the March 7, 2016 curriculum policy requirements:

  • While programs are required to have a standards-aligned curriculum by 2019, annual curriculum submissions are optional. Programs are encouraged — but not required — to take advantage of receiving feedback from the SABES PD centers for ELA, Math, and ESOL. Programs that choose not to submit curriculum products will miss out on valuable feedback that can inform future curriculum work and can positively affect student outcomes, but such programs will not be otherwise penalized.

  • Submission dates prior to June 2019 are optional. Programs opting to submit materials (by August 15 or later) to SABES for review are advised to inform the relevant PD centers that they plan to submit and what materials they will be submitting to facilitate planning and timely feedback. Visit System for Adult Basic Education Support for contact information. SABES PD Center directors will have a limited opportunity to provide detailed feedback during the period of time when the existing SABES PD Centers are responding to the Open and Competitive RFP.

  • Template use is optional. The use of the scope and sequence, unit, and lesson plan template components are not required, but are encouraged, as they provide a framework for quality and effective curricula materials.

  • Curriculum Tracks are recommendations. The pathways may be helpful to programs in distributing the work of developing a fully aligned curriculum.

What is not changing is ACLS's commitment to supporting programs in their efforts to achieve higher student outcomes. I encourage you to contact ACLS or SABES at any time with curriculum questions and/or concerns. Our students will succeed only with our collective effort.

Jolanta Conway
ABE State Director, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Last Updated: July 25, 2016

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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