What Is The Instructional Framework?

Informed by leading research, the Bainum Family Foundation’s Instructional Framework (IF) bridges the gap between standards and classroom instruction. It establishes a scope and sequence for teaching English/Language Arts content from kindergarten through eighth grade and provides a rubric that identifies eight best practice indicators for lesson planning and learning assessment. 

Using the IF Rubric, teachers can:

  • Improve their knowledge and understanding of best teaching practices
  • Assess their own performance through video-facilitated self-reflection

The IF also includes training videos and grade-level documents designed to meet teachers where they are and help them integrate best practices to:

  • Deliberately design lesson plans that guide students toward attainment of Common Core standards
  • Create lesson plans that incorporate multiple ELA standards
  • Develop students’ critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration skills

The grade-level documents also help teachers integrate themes into each unit at each grade level. For example, some themes for the first unit at the beginning of the school year (August–October) are Personal Feelings & Growth and Friends and Family. Kindergartners would explore these topics as they learn about Caring about Myself and Others, while fourth-graders would do so as they learn about Character Development

The IF is aligned with the Common Core Standards. It integrates Partnership for 21st Century skills, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning competencies and the Universal Design for Learning guidelines.

Why Was It Developed?

Not all teachers know what quality instruction looks like, and that’s because the experts who develop academic standards haven’t developed concrete and consistent guidance demonstrating how standards and research-informed best practices can be efficiently applied to real-world lessons. The IF was developed to bridge that knowledge gap. When every teacher understands how to effectively plan and deliver standards-based instruction, all students will have the quality instruction they need to reach their potential.

The rubric can also serve school leaders as a tool to set uniform expectations for teachers, evaluate teaching practices and establish performance goals.

Teacher preparation programs can use these resources to support their student teachers in learning to design effective lesson plans.

Development Process and Pilot

Having developmentally appropriate, rigorous and consistent learning standards at each grade level is paramount for success, so to begin the process of developing the IF, we identified what exactly those standards and assessments should be — the Common Core State Standards and Partnership for 21st-Century Skills. Both are widely adopted, research-driven and focused on instructing and supporting the whole child. 

Next, we looked at how teachers design their instruction to foster these skills in their students. The IF was designed to strengthen teachers’ planning in a way that saves them time and provides them with the needed autonomy to meet the individual needs of students in their classrooms.

After exploring key research-based approaches, we hired experts well-versed in reading, English/Language Arts and curriculum writing to form our IF writer workgroup. Leveraging the frameworks we found in our research, these writers came together to develop grade level-specific English/Language Arts frameworks both aligned with the Common Core State Standards and consistent across grade levels. The writers’ work — which included content, instructional practices and all research-based components behind successful instruction — was regularly reviewed and critiqued by a project review team, composed of more than 20 teachers and educational leaders within the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) education system.

In 2014, we launched a two-year pilot program at an SDA K-8 school in Hyattsville, Maryland, implementing the IF with multiple grade levels from kindergarten through sixth grade. Throughout the pilot, our team gathered student performance data along with teacher feedback to begin revising the IF. 

The revised framework was then implemented at Creation Kids Village in Celebration, Florida, and our team gathered additional student performance data and teacher feedback from that process to further improve and finalize the IF as it is today.


How it is Helpful

Lesson Plans

The IF demonstrates how standards- and research-informed best practices can be applied to real-world lessons and provides sample resources to facilitate the planning process.


The IF Rubric, which identifies eight best practice indicators, sets uniform expectations for teachers throughout the school.


When every teacher is effectively prepared to plan and deliver standards-based instruction, all students will have the quality instruction they need in order to reach their potential.

Culturally Responsive Instruction

Selecting culturally responsive texts — literature that reflects diversity and introduces students to perspectives other than their own — is an essential component of effective planning and instruction. The IF includes recommendations for culturally responsive texts that were assessed using the process and criteria described below. 

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