Open Up Resources Partners with Nationally Renowned Curriculum Author EL Education to Offer Openly Licensed English Language Arts Curriculum

MENLO PARK, CA — March 24, 2017 — Open Up Resources, a nonprofit that provides openly licensed curriculum for K–12 schools, has partnered with K–12 innovator and curriculum author EL Education to offer its new comprehensive K–5 English Language Arts (ELA) core program.

The core curriculum builds on the groundbreaking curriculum EL Education created in 2012 for New York State’s EngageNY effort; to date, those materials have been downloaded more than 8 million times and are in use in 44 states. It is Open Up Resources’ first English Language Arts (ELA) product, and will be available for the 2017–18 school year.

“EL Education is the exact kind of partner we look for,” said Open Up Resources CEO Larry Singer. “They have a proven track record of creating engaging curriculum that produces achievement gains—and their choice to release these excellent materials as OER demonstrates that our organizations have a shared equity mission. We believe that this type of collaboration will help unbind K–12 from the expensive and often poorly standards-aligned textbooks of traditional publishers.”

EL Education is an acclaimed school transformation specialist whose work has reached more than 100,000 students since its founding nearly 25 years ago. Its model emphasizes academic mastery, character, and high-quality work, and its approach to teaching and learning, which incorporates the use of their curriculum, emphasizes real-world skills and content, character development, and increased achievement expectations.

The EL Education model has been shown to increase achievement: a recent study by Mathematica Policy Research found that students in EL Education schools gained an extra seven months of learning growth in reading after three years. In addition, its curriculum has received the highest reviews by independent review organization

“Our goal in creating our open source literacy curriculum five years ago was to enable teachers beyond our school network to benefit from the rich and rigorous teaching and learning in the EL Education model,” said EL Education’s President and CEO Scott Hartl. “Fast-forward to today and 8 million downloads later, educators have confirmed we’re meeting a critical need in classrooms. Our collaboration with Open Up Resources expands the reach of our curriculum and our ability to help even more teachers and students across the country.”

This marks the first time that EL Education’s latest curriculum will be available in a fully digital format, in addition to a print format, as well as their first K–2. The materials have also been redesigned to be more visually engaging and user-friendly.

EL Education incorporated robust lesson-level supports for English language learners (ELL) into the content. ELL expert Rebecca Blum-Martinez, Bilingual/ESL Professor at the University of New Mexico and Director of Latin American Programs in Education (LAPE) at the institution, helped design the system of supports for ELLs.

“EL Education’s curriculum is designed to provide the tools to make learning accessible for all students. For English language learners, ensuring that their experience with the curriculum is based on meaningful and challenging content was top of mind,” Blum-Martinez said. “We built into each lesson targeted ELL instruction and supports, including frequent ‘Language Dives’ to unpack the structure and meaning of complex and compelling sentences, and 'Conversation Cues' to promote rich and equitable discussions. English learners have the same cognitive needs for enriching, challenging curricula and learning experiences that any child does."

The curriculum authored by EL Education carries all hallmarks of Open Up Resources materials:

  • Full-course core programs authored by leading experts: In addition to EL Education, Open Up Resources offers curriculum from Illustrative Mathematics, the nonprofit founded by noted mathematician and standards author Bill McCallum.
  • Groundbreaking support for English language learners: Guidance for supporting these students is integrated at the lesson and activity level, a significant improvement from typical programs.
  • Exceptional standards alignment: EL Education has been widely recognized for the exceptional standards alignment of its materials, from its EngageNY curriculum work in 2013 to its consistently positive alignment-reviews by EdReports.
  • Availability in digital and print formats.
  • Affordable and flexible: Materials are openly licensed (CC-BY) and therefore free to download and easy for educators to customize to their individual classroom needs.
  • Provided with robust professional learning support for teachers: Districts can select from a full suite of customizable services, from unit-level professional development to workshops that model and support teacher practice shifts.

With more than $12 million in support from philanthropies including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Helmsley Charitable Trust, Open Up Resources works with partners such as Stanford University and Student Achievement Partners to ensure the quality of its offerings.

Open Up Resources’ first curriculum, a middle school math curriculum designed in partnership with Illustrative Mathematics, is now being finalized in a six-district beta release, and will be available for the 2017–18 school year. The math curriculum offers a savings of up to 80 percent versus those offered by traditional providers.

School districts interested in reviewing the materials can contact Open Up Resources:

About Open Up Resources

Open Up Resources is a nonprofit that develops the highest quality, openly licensed, full-course curricula for reduced cost to districts. Formerly the K–12 OER Collaborative, Open Up Resources partners with the country’s foremost materials experts in the development of superb, freely licensed instructional materials, then provides districts with necessary support for implementation with fidelity. Its mission: to provide students with equal access to rigorous, standards-aligned materials, while easing adoption by districts.

About EL Education

EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) is redefining student achievement in diverse communities across the country, ensuring that all students master rigorous content, develop positive character, and produce high-quality work. We create great public schools where they are needed most, inspiring teachers and students to achieve more than they thought possible.

Created over 20 years ago through the collaboration of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound, EL Education’s research-based approach challenges and empowers teachers and students. We transform education in thousands of schools and districts across the country through a unique combination of rigor and joy in learning.

As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, we work with all kinds of schools: district and charter, from pre-K through 12th grade, serving populations that reflect the diversity of our country. We create powerful resources—in addition to our curriculum, we provide masterful coaching and professional development, and share a portfolio of award-winning, educator-developed materials. One reason for our success: our work is informed by decades of learning in our national network of over 150 high-achieving public schools, serving 4,000 teachers and 50,000 students. For more information, visit