Seattle Public Schools

Instructional Materials

Instructional Materials Adoptions

Instructional Materials Adoptions


 It is the policy of the Seattle School Board to create an Instructional Materials Committee pursuant to RCW 28A.320.230, and to direct the Superintendent or designee to create Adoption Committees for each specific adoption. 

The Instructional Materials Committee:

The Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) is established in conformance with state law (RCW 28A.320.230) and Board Policy 2015. The IMC shall consist of the following standing positions: the Director of Curriculum & Instructional Supports, the Manager of Library Services, and an Instructional Materials Specialist. In addition, the Director of Curriculum & Instructional Supports shall appoint two principals (one elementary and one secondary) and two parents (one elementary and one secondary) to staggered two-year terms. The School Board shall be informed of the committee members each fall. 

Within the structure of the established adoption schedule, the purpose of the IMC is to:

  • Approve the timeline of each specific adoption;
  • Approve the membership of the Adoption Committee;
  • Approve the selection criteria to be used by the Adoption Committee and ensure that the criteria are aligned with the principles outlined in Board Policy 2015 and Superintendant Procedure 2015
  • Certify to the School Board that the final recommendation of the Adoption Committee was reached by following the process outlined in Board Policy 2015 and in any related Superintendent Procedures
  • Ensure that a Professional Development cycle is developed.

The Instructional Materials Office shall be the repository of all materials being evaluated during a specific adoption and made available to the public.

The Adoption Committees:

In addition to the IMC, Seattle Public Schools completes text adoption work through adoption committees. These committees are appointed by the Adoption Coordinator charged with leading the adoption. The purpose of the adoption committee is to provide subject matter expertise and to provide the perspectives of family members who have current and/or past students in the grades for which the adoption is being contemplated.

The Adoption Committee’s Responsibilities Include:

  • Developing selection criteria (using the “General Criteria for Evaluating Textual Materials for Cultural Relevancy and Anti-bias” document), before any materials are reviewed for adoption consideration. The Selection Criteria will satisfy both the State and District requirements of the subject and grade ranges for the adoption and the Criteria for Evaluating Textual Materials for Cultural Relevancy and Anti-bias. Only after the Selection Criteria are approved by the IMC are the publishers’ submissions considered and reviewed.
  • Reviews the materials submitted by publishers for cohesiveness with the Selection Criteria, as stated above.
  • Solicits feedback through a variety of media. Materials will be displayed, or be made available, in accordance with the established communication strategy as outlined in the superintendents procedures connected to Board Policy 2015

The process used for all adoptions shall be designed to gather input from multiple stakeholders. Input shall be reflected back to the School Board when specific instructional materials are recommended for adoption. The adoption committee should include reflections not only on why the particular materials were recommended for adoption, but also why the other reviewed materials were not recommended. 

— From the SPS Selection and Adoption of Instructional Materials, Policy 2015


After a thorough process that solicits input from the community on their opinions and values, and after looking at a range of instructional materials, adoption committees are directed to recommend for adoption books and other instructional materials that are selected to:

  • Enable teachers to implement the district’s curriculum
  • Provide an effective basic education, including providing materials and/or support to help students outside of the instructional day, as appropriate
  • Insure flexibility and clarity sufficient to meet the special needs of individuals and groups
  • Meet applicable standards at a minimum level of rigor
  • Provide a coherent instructional sequence and stimulate student growth in conceptual thinking and factual knowledge
  • Be easily understood by students, taking into consideration the varied instructional needs, abilities, interests, and maturity levels of the students served
  • Be based on best practices and research including benchmarking from similar districts and other sources
  • Have a common baseline while ensuring that different learning and teaching styles are represented
  • Provide sufficient variety so as to present opposing views of controversial issues in order that students may develop the skills of critical analysis and informed decision making
  • Be culturally relevant to represent the diversity of students and contribute to the development of understanding issues of gender, ethnic, cultural, occupational and religious groups
  • Reflect community expectations and values