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Equity, diversity, and inclusion in Amplify ELA

Amplify’s core middle school ELA lessons engage students with a diverse array of text types, genres, authors, and time periods. By representing a wide range of student interests and perspectives, these texts provide an entry point for students and develop their curiosity while also building skills and content knowledge. All lessons employ instructional practices designed to help students locate themselves in relation to the text, drawing on their experiences and questions to motivate deeper inquiry.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion in Amplify ELA

Amplify’s core middle school ELA lessons engage students with a diverse array of text types, genres, authors, and time periods. By representing a wide range of student interests and perspectives, these texts provide an entry point for students and develop their curiosity while also building skills and content knowledge. All lessons employ instructional practices designed to help students locate themselves in relation to the text, drawing on their experiences and questions to motivate deeper inquiry.

Overview

Building global citizens

Preparing students to become successful twenty-first century citizens necessitates that they have both academic skills and cultural competency. Amplify ELA is designed to target the most powerful aspects of complex text and engage students in academic activities that put text at the center of instruction. Texts become more complex throughout the year as students’ reading skills grow, adding up to a rigorous sequence that rewards effort, builds knowledge across subject areas, and supports students to progress systematically with grade-level, standards-aligned work. Amplify ELA provides a wide-ranging collection of core texts that require students to examine issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Questions around fairness, respect, and responsibility are explored through close reading, critical thinking, and writing. These topics and themes are threaded throughout the program as students participate in activities both individual and collaborative.

Equitable pedagogy

Amplify ELA is built on the conviction that equitable instruction is vital to an effective program—that curricula must provide all students with the same opportunities to achieve academic success, and that texts must be relevant to culturally diverse classrooms.

Amplify ELA’s approach to culturally responsive pedagogy centers on cultural diversity as experienced through literature, language, and cultural practices. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is at the center of the Amplify ELA approach to instruction, providing equity and access to every student. We focused on UDL because research shows that reading, writing, language, speaking, and listening skills are taught best in a community in which all learners develop and compare ideas about shared content. The Amplify ELA curriculum and instruction are designed so that when at all possible, one very rich activity for the whole class serves the needs of every student, providing appropriate access and challenge. For example, during close reading, universally accessible supports—such as audio of all reading excerpts and Amplify’s Reveal vocabulary tool—allow students to assess the task and access the supports needed.

For times when UDL simply cannot meet the needs of all learners, Amplify ELA’s six levels of differentiated instruction allow all students to meet grade-level content, rigor, and standards. The design of these supports allows a teacher to assign the support based on an assessment of a student’s need at that moment in class or in response to an identified learning need, such as an identified level of language proficiency. The result is that students in the same classroom are reading the same text, utilizing the appropriate level of differentiation as they work through the same activities, toward the same academic goal.

Diverse representation

Highlighting a breadth of experiences

Amplify ELA introduces students to a broad range of identity factors, including socio-economic status, age, ability, race, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, citizenship status, and more.

Amplify’s culturally diverse collection of authors, protagonists, and topics ensure that texts and tasks are relevant and relatable. The core middle school ELA lessons expose students to a diverse array of text types, genres, authors, cultures, and time periods. The depth, breadth, and diversity of texts and activities ensure that students see themselves, their families, classmates, and community affirmed in the program.

In addition, the Amplify digital Library offers a curated collection of more than 700 classic and contemporary texts that span a full range of genres, topics, and cultural perspectives—a diversity meant to support students as they develop literacy skills and foster a love of reading. Our collection of books comprises a wide range of genres, subjects, and authors, including Walter Mosley, Zora Neale Hurston, and Sonia Sotomayor. Alongside these full texts, Amplify has curated sixteen bundles of primary source materials focused on topics related to core units. These archives offer students a valuable resource to enhance and expand upon learning in the core classroom as they practice research skills. The topics include: Black American Women Writers, César Chávez and Migrant Workers, Chichén Itzá, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Gandhi, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Government internment of Japanese Americans [and/or Canadians], Navajo Code Talkers, Sacagawea, and the Silk Road.

Inclusive classroom community

Amplify ELA ensures that students in a diverse population see themselves affirmed in the curriculum and have the opportunity to explore and affirm the contributions of a range of cultures and identities. Amplify ELA is focused on creating and supporting a classroom community that welcomes students’ voices and ideas to drive the learning.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is embedded in Amplify ELA lessons, classroom culture, and professional development. The rich texts at the heart of the program provide a foundation for SEL, exposing students to different people, cultures, ways of life, and experiences to help them become more aware of and empathetic to differences they encounter in real life. Activities accompanying these texts in the curriculum reflect core SEL principles through a focus on cooperative learning, self-assessment and self-reflection, and competence and confidence building.

Following are some examples of SEL principles at work in Amplify ELA:

Fostering empathy

Students measure hope and hopelessness as they examine Ji-li Jiang’s powerful account of living through the Chinese Cultural Revolution in her memoir, Red Scarf Girl.

Collaborating

Students work together to establish rules and processes for Socratic seminars and develop questions aimed at thoughtful and thought provoking dialogue.

Writing from personal experience

As part of the new Starting Points survey, students read a text and offer a personal written response, allowing teachers to learn more about them as readers, writers, and individuals—and get a quick sense of any skill gaps or social-emotional challenges. Built on the research behind stereotype threat and culturally sustaining pedagogy, this resource flows directly into the Unit A lessons in each grade, which also focus on personal narrative. This is just one of the ways Amplify ELA facilitates writing from personal experience to support SEL.

Classroom routines and community

Guidelines woven into the program support students’ self-management skills and help build a community of readers and writers.

Amplify's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Our goal is to make education, and thereby the world, more equitable.

We create education products that celebrate difference in life and thought as well as ideals we may hold in common.

We help teachers craft rigorous learning experiences that reflect the diverse histories, cultures, and identities their students bring to the classroom.

We also help teachers support their students in constructing, questioning, expanding, and strengthening knowledge of where they come from and who they are becoming.

To do this, we hire and develop people with the broadest range of talents, life stories and experiences, and together we build a diverse and inclusive culture.