By: Elizabeth Kelsey, Kendall Hunt RPD Intern, with contributions from the writing team of Pathways 2.0, Kindergarten Stepping Stones, and ByDesign Science
As we welcome in the 2020s, we here at the Kendall Hunt PreK–12 Religious Publishing Department (RPD) are reflecting on the 2010s! It’s been a busy decade for us—we launched three of our biggest customized, faith-based curricula during the last ten years: ByDesign Science, Kindergarten Stepping Stones, and Pathways2.0 Reading and Language Arts. Take a look at our decade in review!
2011–2014: ByDesign Science and Kindergarten Stepping Stones
For the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) North American Division (NAD) Office of Education, the start of the 2010s was a time for curricular updates.
“We had become frustrated because… we couldn’t find programs that matched what we were looking for,” wrote Larry Blackmer, NAD vice president. “We decided to revamp the curriculum offerings in our educational system to better serve our teachers, students, and parents. The challenge was to find a trusted partner that could meet our specific needs.”
The NAD’s desire for textbooks specific to their needs led them to the Kendall Hunt RPD, an industry leader in faith-based custom curriculum development. The first challenge was the development of a faith-based inquiry science program, giving students science through the lens of the Bible.
“When we began to investigate a new science adoption in 2011, it was decided that we could no longer place a secular science textbook on the desks of our students,” Blackmer wrote. “So, with much prayer and considerable effort, we designed and implemented a robust and distinctly Adventist inquiry science program, ByDesign Science for grades 1–8.”
At the same time as ByDesign Science was in development, Kendall Hunt RPD was also hard at work on our faith-based kindergarten curriculum: Kindergarten Stepping Stones, designed to lay the groundwork for our faith-based curricula for students in grades 1–8.
“The philosophy of the program is based on the belief that kindergarten is an important time of transition for young children,” said then-NAD Director of Elementary Education Carol Campbell. “It is the bridge between home, early childhood education, and the primary grades of school.”
With its ten cross-curricular units aligned with Pathways, Kindergarten Stepping Stones is an innovative, literature-rich custom curriculum to acclimate children to the school setting and the Adventist worldview. This comprehensive, standards-based program also encourages children’s natural curiosity, introducing them to the inquiry-based mind-set of our ByDesign Science products.
At the 2012 NAD Teachers’ Convention, Kendall Hunt RPD representatives unveiled the new ByDesign Science and Kindergarten Stepping Stones programs. The two custom curricula were officially rolled out and implemented into classrooms during the 2014–2015 school year.
After the successful launch of ByDesign Science and Kindergarten Stepping Stones, the Kendall Hunt RPD and the NAD embarked on an update of one of our first collaborations: Pathways Reading and Language Arts. It was first launched in 2007, so we were eager for the chance to bring the program into the next decade.
One of the most comprehensive changes during the major revision of Pathways2.0 was the introduction of 28 new Anchor Texts.
“I love children's literature, and it was amazing to have the chance to discover and implement inclusive texts that are mirrors, windows, and doors for our students,” said Stephanie Heath Nash, member of the development team for Pathways2.0. “It is my goal that these texts will allow students to see themselves represented in the literature that has been selected while also giving them opportunities to learn about others and develop empathy for all of God's children.”
In response to teacher feedback on the first edition of Pathways, the revision process included a complete rewrite of the Daily Lesson Guides, which were redesigned to include four-color printing and more teacher-friendly activities, answer keys, and blackline masters. Online teacher resources were also introduced, and the Writer’s Handbook and Teacher Manual saw major rewrites as well.
Similar to the original rollout six years previously, Kendall Hunt RPD representatives presented the new and improved Pathways2.0 program at the 2018 NAD Teachers’ Convention. The updated reading and language arts custom curriculum debuted that fall and was implemented in classrooms in fall 2019.
2019 and Beyond
The last decade has seen big changes and great product launches for the Kendall Hunt RPD, and the next looks just as bright! As we enter the 2020s, we are continuing to expand our customized product offerings with the upcoming release of ByDesign Biology: a faith-based high school biology program, to be available for classrooms in the fall of 2020. We are looking forward to launching the next decade in a big way with this innovative custom high school science curriculum.
It’s been an amazing decade here at Kendall Hunt RPD, and we can’t wait to continue our journey to educational excellence through custom curricula as we kick off the next ten years!