Southern California school district creates customized literacy program

The Sweetwater Union High School District of Southern California, after recognizing diminishing college- and workforce-readiness levels of its graduating seniors, partnered with Pearson, the education services and technology company, to create a unique custom literature program to support its innovative rhetorical approach model for the district's seventh through twelfth graders.

The curriculum, comprised of student and teacher materials, is designed to help increase student engagement in rigorous, standards-based learning activities and serves to enhance and expand students' skills through a new style of instruction that emphasizes expository, analytical, and argumentative writing.

Pearson collaborated with district literacy leaders to develop affordable custom student texts specifically designed to allow students to interact with relevant, real-world readings in the core curriculum. With input from the district's literacy team, Pearson published Sweetwater's Teacher Toolkit and built custom student readers with a variety of unique literature selections, workplace documents, poems, and 21st-century texts. The units are aligned to cross-curricular topics to help prepare Sweetwater's diverse student population for post-secondary education and/or the career of their choice.

"The ability to customize our content made it possible to ensure superior alignment of texts with our quarterly standards and skills in addition to those quarterly themes that were derived by teachers 'in house.' Now, we have improved the relevance of texts to our students' interests and needs," said Jennifer Currie, Sweetwater Union High School District, Academic Support Team Teacher.

Pearson's unique, custom format promotes increased readability and interactivity by eliminating all distracters from the text, such as extra questions and strategies, to allow the curriculum to be more instructor and student driven. "Custom publishing is all about catering to a district's specific needs. Pearson works with teachers and curriculum leaders to identify the right content that aligns with their precise course goals and deliver it in the best way for their students," said Don Kilburn, CEO, Pearson Learning Solutions. "Our partnership with Sweetwater Union High School District is an excellent demonstration of our commitment to providing high quality content that ensures a valuable learning experience for students and helps prepare them for college."