Foundational Skills Curriculum at OUSD

  • Vision: Our youngest students develop a joyful curiosity and a love of reading, writing and self-expression. Over time, they will grow the literacy skills they need to become lifelong readers, critical thinkers and effective communicators. All students will have a command of the power of literacy as a means of personal expression, economic opportunity, and community leadership.

Adopting a new foundational skills curriculum at OUSD

  • OUSD wants to ensure that EVERY Oakland student is a strong critical thinker and reader so that they understand the world around them, advocate for change, and make the world a better place. A strong foundational literacy curriculum centers on the foundational skills all learning readers need to master in order to be successful in elementary school and beyond. These practices are rooted in the science of how children learn to read, and are especially appropriate for students learning English as a second language, students with special needs, students who struggle to read, and students who frequently move between schools. 


    After reviewing 11 curricula and piloting EL Education Skills Block and From Phonics to Reading at five schools, the ELA Elementary Foundational Skills Curriculum Sub-Committee recommended  strengthening support around our current suite of materials, while exploring more Foundational Skills curricula next school year. This was based on scores and feedback from teachers and school leaders, as well as observations, during the pilot. 


    While OUSD expected to adopt a Foundational Skills curriculum for SY 2023-24, making the right choice for our students, teachers and leaders is critical.


    In SY the 2023-24 school year, OUSD will:


    • Continue to use SIPPS, OUSD Letter Naming Curriculum (and Heggerty in Kindergarten) as Tier 1 curriculum;
    • Provide guidance for using SIPPS in whole group instruction for grades K-2 as well as differentiated groups; and
    • Explore additional high-quality Tier 1 Foundational Skills programs and conduct another pilot in the future.

Get involved!


  • Engaging with teachers, partner organizations, and families is key to OUSD adopting and implementing a new curriculum.


    The ELA Elementary Foundational Skills Curriculum Sub-Committee includes a majority of OUSD teachers with expertise in early years teaching and work with English Language Learners. Teacher members represent a variety of schools, grade levels, years of teaching experience, and more. Current and former members include:

    • Rebecca Anderson, Academics and Innovation Instruction
    • Tamara Arroyo, Cleveland Elementary School
    • Dolores Beleche, Global Family Elementary School
    • Denise Burroghs, Carl Munck Elementary School
    • Patti Cho, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School
    • Erin Cogan, Academics and Innovation Instruction
    • Alli Guifoil, Special Education
    • Kelly Haider, Piedmont Avenue Elementary School
    • Frances Hammond, Howard Elementary School
    • Ellen Harms, Montclair Elementary School
    • Katrina Jones, Burckhalter Elementary School
    • Lisa Lam, Franklin Elementary School
    • Noreen Magaloni, Markham Elementary School
    • Patience Nwadugbo, Laurel Elementary School
    • Sandra Prades-Bertran, Academics and Innovation Instruction
    • Andrea Ruiz, Korematsu Discovery Academy
    • Soraya Sajous, Prescott Elementary School 
    • Lieba Schneiderman, Academics and Innovation Instruction
    • Linda Selph, Markham Elementary School
    • Romy Trigg Smith, Academics and Innovation Instruction
    • Steven Valadez, Fruitvale Elementary School
    • Maryann Vastag, EnCompass Academy
    • Linda Velasquez, Fruitvale Elementary School
    • Michele Witherspoon, Garfield Elementary School
    • Joon Yeider, Chabot Elementary School


    The ELA Elementary Curriculum Parent Study Group provided the committee with critical insight and perspectives from families across the district on what will prepare their children to become strong, engaged readers and writers. Curricula considered by the committee are:

    • Benchmark Advance
    • Bookworms
    • Core Knowledge Language Arts
    • EL Education Skills Block
    • Fountas & Pinnell Classroom
    • From Phonics to Reading  
    • Fundations
    • Geodes
    • Maravillas Wonders
    • Phonics to Reading
    • Current Suite (both with and without Letter Naming Curriculum)


    The Committee voted to look further at From Phonics to Reading and EL Education Skills Block and to pilot at:

    • Hillcrest Elementary School
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School
    • ACORN Woodland Elementary School
    • Korematsu Discovery Academy