Houston Matters

New literacy curriculum is among the many changes coming to HISD

A new phonics-focused curriculum was tested last school year and will be expanded this year.



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We've been hearing a lot lately about the changes underway at Houston ISD prompted by Mike Miles, its new state-appointed superintendent. Miles has made administrative cuts, reassigned principals, repurposed school libraries, and we've learned teachers in coming years will be paid primarily based on test scores.

And, starting in August, at least a third of HISD campuses will also begin employing a new curriculum built on what's being billed as the "science of reading." The district will follow a developing trend in public education toward more phonics-based instruction.

The curriculum comes from a New York-based company called Amplify, and the 85 schools participating in Miles' New Education System will use it. This was already in motion when Miles took over. It had been used in a pilot program in six district schools last year, and the plan was already in place to expand it to 64 or more schools this coming year.

In the audio above, Alexandra Walsh, chief product officer for Amplify, tells Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn how the curriculum itself works.

Then, Houston Matters host Craig Cohen discusses the change with Dr. Duncan Klussmann. He’s the former superintendent of Spring Branch ISD and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen

Executive Producer & Host, Houston Matters

Craig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekday mornings at 9:00 on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer and manager,...

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