High Quality Instructional Materials Selection & Implementation Process

Every Nebraska student deserves the opportunity to learn from high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials to prepare for success in college, career, and civic life. Through the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative, the Nebraska Department of Education and key partners are committed to providing statewide leadership that informs and supports the decisions made locally related to curriculum and instructional materials.

Supporting teachers by providing both high-quality instructional materials and the training needed to use the materials well positions teachers to have a greater impact on student achievement.

  • Teachers who are knowledgeable about the content they are teaching and comfortable with the materials they are using are more likely to be effective in the classroom.
  • Educators cannot be expected to move from one set of instructional materials to another overnight. Whether they have been in the classroom for years or are new to the profession, teachers need training and support to implement new materials aligned to revised standards.
  • High-quality instructional materials are designed to help build a teacher’s content knowledge, provide guidance to inform lesson planning, and offer structures to support collaboration with other teachers.

Teachers know that many of the materials they have currently do not meet student needs and they are taking action to fill in the gaps.

  • Today, 73% of U.S. teachers say they are using materials found online more than they use hardcover textbooks. More than 93% of teachers report frequently using their own or locally-developed materials.
  • Searching for supplemental materials can be exhausting, given the vast amount of content available online and the wide range of quality. Instructional coherence can be lost when materials from multiple sources are used. This compounds the difficulties teachers face and can result in inequity for our students.
  • According to the 2020 School Health Profiles, 64% of Nebraska Health Education teachers have a district scope and sequence for Health Education and 77% have a written curriculum for grades 6-12.  Data shows there is a significant need within the state for professional development focused on Health Education content and teaching strategies.
  • The CDC and HQIM selection process maximizes administrators’, curriculum directors’, teacher leaders’, and teachers’ time by highlighting high quality, standards-aligned instructional materials that meet local health needs. That way, more time can be spent on strategies that support effective implementation and less time can be spent on selecting materials.

Selecting high-quality instructional materials does not have to be a guessing game— there are resources focused on informing this decision.

  • Rubrics have been developed to support educators in evaluating the quality of lessons and full-year sets of instructional materials. The HECAT is an example of a tool that is used to determine the quality of instructional materials.
  • Guidance documents and resources included in the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative inform and support local decision making by ensuring instructional materials meet Nebraska’s expectations for quality and alignment.

Health Education High Quality Instructional Materials Selection Process

Modified from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT).

This phase includes an opportunity for the district to develop a vision for excellent health education and instruction and develop local needs and priorities informed by evidence-based practices and data. A process in which district and school leaders review health education materials, resources and curricula is established, including a prioritization process. A prioritization process that winnows down the materials should include feasibility, accessibility, acceptability, accuracy, equity, and affordability (for resources and full definitions, please see the HECAT). The end of this phase includes a selection of the materials, resources and/or curricula that scored the highest through this process.

Key Action


I.1 Develop your district lens.

In this step, the goal is to establish a district-wide instructional vision for Health Education.

  • Is there a district-wide vision for equitable and effective Health Education instruction? If not, who will lead the development of the vision?
  • How will the vision be communicated with educators and stakeholders?
  • What kinds of professional learning will be necessary to align curriculum, materials, instruction, and intervention with the vision?
  • Do educators and other stakeholders have sufficient knowledge of the Characteristics of Effective Health Education and Essential Health Skills?
  • Do educators and other stakeholders have knowledge of Appropriate Practices in Health Education?
  • How will the district engage the ESU in the initial stages of the process?
I.2 Identify local needs and priorities.

(see linked video for a more detailed overview)

District and school leaders will develop a plan for reviewing and selecting materials.

  • What kinds of data will be collected to analyze student learning needs (e.g. YRBS, NRPFSS, YTS, SHP, SHI, interim and formative assessments)?
  • What will the process be to review data with key health education teachers?
  • Who can you reach out to within your school and community to inventory current health content and help identify possible health priorities to be included in the Health Education scope and sequence?
  • What data points for each grade level and/or grade band will be most important for teachers to address through skill and knowledge instruction?
  • How will new Health Education materials support school-level and district-wide improvement goals?
  • What are the criteria (pg.60) for high-quality instructional materials to ensure alignment with district-selected Health Education standards?
  • To what extent will newly adopted Health Education materials align with materials in use at other grade levels? In other content areas? [reference completed Program Planning and Inventory Document]
  • What are the adoption requirements set forth in district and/or school board policy?
I.3 Establish your process.

District and school leaders will develop a plan for reviewing and selecting materials.

I.4 Know and winnow your choices.

This step involves taking stock of the highly-rated Health Education materials available in the marketplace.

  • How will local priorities and the district’s vision for excellent Health Education instruction be applied to preliminary reviews of available materials?
  • What initial research is necessary to learn more about available reviews of Health Education materials and federal registries?
  • Who will conduct and communicate the initial research?
  • Are the materials under consideration in use by other Nebraska districts? If so, how will you establish contact to gather additional information about programs?
  • How will stakeholder input (pg.26) of Health Education materials under review be solicited?
  • Which 2-4 programs/curricula based on priority areas identified will be studied more deeply?
I.5 Develop an equity lens.

This step is essential for determining how high-quality Health Education materials will meet the needs of diverse learners.

  • What steps will be taken to ensure the selection committee is representative of the diversity of the students within the district?
  • Are review rubrics (pg.53) and tools designed to ensure students will encounter materials that include and reflect a diversity of perspectives, narratives, and histories, while elevating contributions of traditionally marginalized groups?
  • Do review tools allow for adequate evaluation of bias that may be present in materials?
I.6 Investigate the materials

In this step, teams prepare to systematically evaluate a narrowed list of selections.

  • How will review tools be aligned to the district-wide vision for excellent Health Education instruction?
  • How will evaluation rubrics and tools (pg.29) be identified or developed?
  • What kinds of professional learning will be necessary for the committee(s) as they prepare to review materials?
  • How will reviews of materials (pg.19) be conducted, and who will be involved (pg.20)?
  • Who will collaborate with publishers to procure and distribute sample materials? Are sample materials necessary for a pilot?
  • What process will be in place to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the options?
  • How will stakeholder feedback be analyzed and incorporated into the review process?
I.7 Make a decision.

Teams will make a final selection and prepare for launch and implementation phases.

  • How will the final decision be made and communicated?
  • Given the review, selection process, and pilot, how will leaders develop and communicate a shared understanding of why the materials were selected?
  • What are key talking points that will be reinforced throughout the communication process?

This phase emphasizes the implementation and support of the curriculum process. It includes the logistics of purchasing and distributing the materials and providing professional development. Within this process, the curriculum training should include background on the materials to increase comfort and confidence in using the materials, but also support in delivery of the content and skills within the program. The training should also consider how students’ knowledge and skill gains will be assessed. Finally, this phase considers on-going support and observations to ensure accountability and support around implementation, as well as planning for assessment and grading into the local accountability system (grade reports).

Key Action Opportunities
II.1 Prepare to launch.

In this step, initial logistical decisions such as purchase, distribution, and professional learning are made.

  • What supplemental materials and/or instructional supports accompany the Health Education program (e.g. consumables, assessment resources, manipulatives)?
  • How will newly adopted Health Education materials be procured and distributed to schools in a timely manner, ensuring all teachers have access to essential program resources?
  • How will professional learning be designed and offered, and to whom?
  • Who will facilitate the professional learning, and which stakeholders will receive training?
  • Does the professional learning plan allow teachers adequate time to orient to the materials and supplements?
  • How will professional learning norms and goals be established and maintained?
  • What are the long- and short-term activities that will support deeper stages of implementation?
  • To what extent is the professional learning plan responsive to teacher needs and concerns during implementation?
  • Are there existing structures and opportunities for professional learning in place at the local or state level that can support professional learning?
  • What role will ESUs have in supporting initial and ongoing implementation?
II.2 Understand the design and demands of your materials.

In this step, the focus is on the design elements of the newly adopted materials (e.g. units, lessons, overall scope and sequence, norms and routines, structures, formative and summative assessments) and how they will inform ongoing professional learning.

  • What are the core beliefs about students and the role new materials will play in supporting health education instruction? How do you anticipate these core beliefs may be challenged?
  • How does the vision for equitable and excellent health education instruction impact the professional learning needs of teachers?
  • To what extent does the scope and sequence of newly adopted health education materials align with the local  curriculum? What are the long- and short-term modifications that may be necessary?
  • How might the design features impact existing structures such as scheduling, teacher planning time, instructional hours, and staffing?
  • How will design elements of the materials impact existing protocols for assessment and grading?)
  • Do current systems and structures for professional learning need to be adjusted? If so, what are the changes that need to be made?
II.3 Continue to plan and provide professional learning.

In this step, professional learning plans are designed and refined to address learning needs of all stakeholders.

  • To what extent does the content of professional learning impress upon educators why the newly adopted materials were selected and how they align to instructional shifts for Health Education?
  • How will the professional learning plan be communicated and by whom?
  • What professional learning materials and supports, including publisher resources, will be identified?
  • How will district and building leaders be involved with professional learning?
  • What types of supports might be put into place as teachers begin with initial implementation?
II.4 Plan for observation.

This step involves developing a plan for observing the implementation of materials in classroom practice.

  • How will stakeholders ensure newly adopted materials are implemented with fidelity?
  • How will classroom implementation of high-quality materials be supported and evaluated?
  • What kinds of Health Education-specific observation tools will be identified and what training is necessary to use them effectively?
  • To what extent do structures for classroom observation allow for meaningful collaboration amongst teachers?
  • How will observation and feedback plans ensure that the social, emotional, and academic needs of diverse learners are being met through materials and instruction?
II.5 Plan for assessment and grading.

In this step, examine how newly adopted materials will current assessment and grading.

This phase includes collecting and analyzing data and feedback on the strengths and challenges of implementation. Analyzing the information gathered, examine and plan additional professional developments and progress monitoring for the coming year. This phase considers on-going support and observations to ensure accountability and support for deep implementation and sustainability.

Key Action Opportunities
III.1 Work the plan and gather data.

In this phase, the plan developed in Phase II is enacted by observing successes and challenges and listening to feedback related to effectively supporting teachers.

  • What is the plan for deep implementation?
  • What kinds of data will be collected and analyzed?
  • How will classroom instruction be observed and evaluated? [See SHAPE America Administrator Toolkit]
  • What are the key deadlines and how will they be tracked?
  • What needs to happen to get the work done at a high level of quality?
III.2 Adjust the plan.

The goal of this step is to examine progress toward established goals, identify key successes, and problem-solve significant challenges. After analyzing the data, the team will adjust the plan for the next phases of implementation work.

  • Once the plan has been adjusted, what are the next steps?
  • How will adjustments to the plan be communicated and what kinds of additional learning might be required?
  • What will stakeholder groups need to learn about adjustments to the plan?
  • What questions are anticipated and how will the team respond?
III.3 Annually reset.

The goal of this key action is to reflect on the implementation, celebrate successes, identify areas for growth, and define work for the following year of implementation.

  • What are the goals for the annual review?
  • How will meeting norms be established and communicated to ensure the team discussion is productive?
  • What data will be collected to report progress toward goals?
  • How will data be disaggregated to ensure equity–specifically for students in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, and English language learners?
  • What additional stakeholder feedback may be necessary?
Updated April 30, 2023 8:24pm