Frequently Asked Questions

Ordering and Purchasing

Q: How do I place an order?

A: Depending on the complexity of your order, the level of assistance you require, and the payment method, there are three different ways to place an order:

  • Locate your local sales representative on our Find a Rep web page to find a sales representative who can help you determine which DSC materials fit your needs, customize your order, and create a strategy for implementation.
  • Visit our online web store to add products to your shopping cart and pay securely with a credit card.
  • Contact our customer service department to speak directly with a knowledgeable customer service representative who can answer any questions you may have. Once you create an order, you may pay with a check, purchase order, or credit card. Please see specific questions about using checks and purchase orders for payments below.

Please see our Ordering and Shipping web page for more information.

Q: Where can I find contact information for my local sales representative?

A: Contact information for our regional sales representatives can be found on our Find a Rep web page.

Q: Do you accept checks?

A: Yes, we accept checks. To process the order, we need the check in hand or at least a copy of it. We recommend that you get a quote based on the materials you want to purchase, including the shipping and handling costs, so that you can cut the check for the correct amount. Please contact our customer service department for a quote.

Q: Do you accept purchase orders?

A: Yes, we accept purchase orders (P.O.s), though our online web store is not set up to do so. Either fax the P.O. to our customer service department or send it to us via e-mail or regular mail. We usually process P.O.s within 24 hours of receipt. To avoid duplicate orders, please do not mail or e-mail P.O.s that have been faxed. Our contact information can be found here.

Q: Can I use state money to purchase DSC materials?

A: Each state varies in terms of how state funds can be used. Some states require that you purchase only materials on a state-approved list. Many states allow you to obtain waivers to purchase research-based materials that don’t appear on the state-approved list. Even the most rigid of states allow districts to purchase materials through other funding streams, such as Title I, School-Based pots, etc.

Q: How do I place orders for New York City public schools?

A: The New York City Department of Education uses the FAMIS Portal to order our materials. Please note that you will not find our programs’ trade book sets or libraries in FAMIS.

Q: How much do I add to my order for shipping and handling? Do I need to add sales tax?

A: To calculate the shipping and handling charges for orders shipping to locations inside the continental U.S., please refer to the chart below.

Materials Total Shipping and Handling Charge
under $30 $5
$30 to $100 $7
over $100 8% of the materials total
$10,000 and higher to one location 4% of the materials total
$25,000 and higher to one location free shipping
orders outside the U.S rate varies by location, minimum $10

For orders shipping to locations outside the continental U.S., the shipping and handling charge varies by area, though there is a minimum $10.00 charge.

If your order is shipping to California, whether or not you are physically located in California, you need to add the sales tax for that particular area. If you do not know the sales tax for that area, click here. Please see our Ordering and Shipping web page for more information.

Q: How do I make changes to or cancel my order once I’ve already submitted and paid for it?

A: Please contact our customer service department to speak with one of our representatives to learn how to change or cancel your order.

Q: I received only part of an order. Is there a problem with the order fulfillment?

A: We ship our materials from three different warehouses:

  • Trade books and library sets ship from a warehouse in California.
  • Instructional and student materials ship from a warehouse in Illinois.
  • Explorer and AfterSchool KidzScience programs ship from a warehouse in New Mexico.

If you are missing parts of an order that should have shipped from the same warehouse or if you’d like to check on your order, please contact our customer service department.

Q: How do I return or exchange materials?

A: If, for any reason, you are unsatisfied with your order, please contact our customer service department to learn how to return or exchange items. You can view our return and exchange policies by visiting our Returns web page.

Q: Do you offer any discounts on your products?

A: Center for the Collaborative Classroom is a nonprofit educational publisher, and we do not have a standard discount schedule for our products. However, we do offer price breaks for shipping and handling charges depending on the size of the order. Please see "How much do I add to my order for shipping and handling?" for more information.

We also offer cost-saving program packages, which are listed as buying options on our web store and in our product catalogs, and periodically have special sales. Click here to request the latest catalog or here to find your local sales representative who can tell you about our current promotions.

The New York Life Foundation and DSC are partnering to make the AfterSchool KidzLit and AfterSchool KidzMath programs more accessible to a broad range of after-school programs. Click here to find out more about the New York Life After-School Initiative.

Q: What are the purchasing options for the Caring School Community program?

A: Each grade-level classroom package of the Caring School Community program can be purchased individually or as a K–6 set for a discount. Information on purchasing can be found here.

Q: Can I order components from the Being a Writer, Making Meaning, SIPPS, Guided Spelling, or Caring School Community program without buying the entire program?

A: Yes, individual components, such as Teacher’s Manuals, consumable student books, and trade book sets in many of our programs are available separately. You can either visit our web store to search our DSC Product Catalog for individual components to order or contact our customer service department for purchasing options.


Q: What is your mailing address and phone number?

A: Please visit our Contact Us web page for our contact information.

Q: I see that there is a place on your website to log in for a user account. Are there additional resources or benefits that I would have access to if I created a user account?

A: We recently expanded our website to include an online community component and are in the early stages of growing our DSC Community. The strength of a community depends on the participation of its members. We invite you to create an account and participate in any one of our blogs or forums by writing posts, posing questions, and sharing your experiences. If there’s something you want to see posted or if you have questions about our programs, just ask!

We started and will maintain our DSC Community as a resource, but it’s our hope that it will continue to grow to fill the needs of the community. We also hope to provide other resources beyond our current public site to further support the implementation of our programs. Please check back again soon. In the meantime, you can follow our updates on both Facebook and Twitter.

Q: Do you offer any of your materials in foreign translations?

A: Each grade-level volume of our Caring School Community program’s Homeside Activities (K–6) includes both English and Spanish translations in the same book. Additionally, we offer some components in the MathLinks and Science Explorer programs in Spanish.

Q: Is DSC the publisher of the trade books included in your programs and library sets?

A: Unless specified on the book itself, DSC is not the publisher of the trade books included in our programs or library sets. Please see the copyright pages of individual trade books for publisher information.

Q: Can you suggest a tool that assesses the learning environment in elementary and middle schools? I need validity and reliability data as well.

A: Click the links listed below to download PDFs of the Child Development Project scales for elementary and middle school students that we developed at DSC:

Elementary Student Scales, grades 3–6
Middle School Student Scales, grades 6–8

For more information, visit our Child Development Project web page.

Q: What is the cost of staff development?

A: Staff development sessions may be purchased at a daily rate of $2,600 for one staff developer for a group of 40 participants or less. A discounted daily rate for Community-based Organizations (CBOs) is $2,000. These rates include all handouts for the workshop as well as the staff developer’s travel expenses.

To request professional development sessions, complete an online request form or e-mail, In-School Professional Development or After-School Professional Development, for more information. If you expect more than 40 participants, please note that in the comments section of the request form, and we will contact you.

Q: How can I be added to or removed from your mailing list?

A: To be added or removed from our mailing list, please contact our customer service department. If you are not a previous customer of ours, we most likely purchased your contact information from Market Data Retrieval (MDR). To remove yourself from MDR’s mailing list, you must contact MDR directly:

Market Data Retrieval
1 Forest Parkway
PO Box 907
Shelton, CT 06484-0947

Q: Does DSC have any job openings?

A: Please check here for a current list of job opportunities at DSC.

About Our Programs

Being a Writer

Q: When was the Being a Writer program first published?

A: The Being a Writer program for grades K–5 was published in 2007 with grade 6 following in 2008.

Q: What genre units are taught in the Being a Writer program?

A: In grades 3–6 of our Being a Writer program, the genre units are designed around six genres: personal narrative, fiction, expository nonfiction, functional writing, persuasive nonfiction, and poetry. Students hear, read, and discuss good examples of a genre and then prewrite, draft, revise, proofread, publish, and share their own pieces with the class.

Making Meaning

Q: When was the Making Meaning program first published?

A: The first edition of the Making Meaning program for grades K–8 was published in 2003, and the second edition for grades K–6 was published in 2008.

Q: What standards were used to develop the Making Meaning program?

A: In developing the Making Meaning program, we reviewed the NCTE/IRA Standards for English Language Arts, the New Standards Performance Standards in English Language Arts (developed by the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh and The National Center on Education and the Economy), and the reading/language arts standards of several states including California, Florida, New York, and Texas.

Q: Do you have any plans to produce a pre-K version of the Making Meaning program? If not, could portions of the Kindergarten program be supplemented for pre-K?

A: We do not have immediate plans to publish pre-K materials of the Making Meaning program, and we do not suggest modifying the Kindergarten program as it was not designed for use with pre-K children.

Q: I’m currently using the first edition of the Making Meaning program, which was published in 2003. Is it possible to order replacement consumable materials for the first edition?

A: Yes, consumable materials (Student Books and Assessment Record Books) from the first edition of the Making Meaning program are available for purchase. Click any of the following links to go to the ordering page for different grade-level replacement sets:

Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 1
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 2
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 3
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 4
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 5
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 6
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 7
Making Meaning Replacement Class Set, Grade 8

Q: Are there any supplemental materials that would complement the Making Meaning program and could be used with at-risk students in a push-in or pull-out program?

A: Programs that we publish and recommend for push-in or pull-out include the following:

  • Making Meaning Vocabulary: Interactive activities that include a variety of games and opportunities to act out word meanings. This 15-minute a day program is a supplement to Making Meaning that teaches the high-utility words found in Making Meaning read-aloud texts along with strategies to use for unlocking word meanings when used independently. For more information, click here.
  • Individualized Daily Reading Libraries: Extensive collections of books that allow all students to find books they can read successfully for pleasure, information, or exploration. These libraries of high-interest fiction and nonfiction titles represent a range of genres and cultures, and model important values such as fairness, responsibility, and cooperation. For more information, click here.
  • DSC’s After-School Enrichment Programs: Engaging programs that have fun activities in reading, math, and science, and that can be used during the school day as well. Click the following links for more information about each program:

Q: What is the difference in instruction between grades 6, 7, and 8 in the Making Meaning program? Can I use the grade 6 program materials for all of my middle school students?

A: While each grade of the Making Meaning program was designed with that grade level’s students in mind, the curricula and lesson sequence are similar. A few of the read-alouds at grade 6 (some of the picture books) will feel young to your eighth graders. You might substitute with a more age-appropriate reading when teaching the lesson to older students. The alternative book lists on the Weekly Overviews may yield some possibilities, as would the read-aloud in a similar lesson at grade 8.

Q: Do you plan to make posters available for the Making Meaning program?

A: There is no plan at this time to create posters for the Making Meaning program.


Q: When was the SIPPS program developed? When was it published?

A: John Shefelbine developed the content and methods for the SIPPS program over several years in the 1980s and 1990s. SIPPS Beginning and Extension Levels were piloted over two years at an elementary school in northern California. SIPPS Challenge Level was field-tested at two northern California schools.

Scholastic and Center for the Collaborative Classroom co-published the first edition of SIPPS Challenge in 2000. DSC bought the contract from Scholastic and published the second editions of SIPPS Beginning, SIPPS Extension, and SIPPS Challenge in 2005. (SIPPS Extension and Challenge were co-authored by Katherine K. Newman.) Shortly after that, we published SIPPS Plus, written by both John Shefelbine and Katherine K. Newman.

Q: What changed between the first and second editions of the SIPPS program?

A: The basic content of the SIPPS program did not change from the first to second edition. The changes made in the second edition were to help make the implementation of the program more successful by incorporating the following:

  • Larger, spiral-bound format
  • Expanded support throughout the lessons
  • Improved, streamlined assessment
  • "Routines and Sounds" CD-ROM for teacher support
  • New strand of optional high-frequency irregular words (Challenge Level)
  • Five new final -e lessons (Extension Level)
  • Double sets of hand-held cards (Beginning and Extension Levels)

If a teacher is using the first edition of the SIPPS program and needs additional or replacement components, she may order and use any component from the second edition and use it in combination with first edition components without any problem.

Q: At what level in the SIPPS program should I place my students?

A: Depending on initial assessment results, your K–3 students could be placed in the Beginning, Extension, or Challenge Levels, and students in grades 4–12 could be placed in SIPPS Plus or the Challenge Level.

Q: Are the Hand-held Sight Word Cards and Spelling-Sound Wall Cards sets in the SIPPS Extension and Plus programs identical in content?

A: The only component that is identical in SIPPS Extension and SIPPS Plus is the Spelling-Sound Wall Cards set. The hand-held card sets are not identical at the two levels, though there is some overlap in content.

Q: Is the SIPPS Plus assessment the same as the assessment in the SIPPS Beginning and Extension levels?

A: Yes, the assessments at all levels of the SIPPS program are the same and will help you place your students at the correct level of the SIPPS program.

AfterSchool Kidz Family

Q: Are the AfterSchool KidzLit, AfterSchool KidzMath, and AfterSchool KidzScience programs aligned to California’s Content Standards?

A: Yes, all three programs are aligned to California’s Content Standards. Please click the links below to download PDFs of the correlations to California’s English Language and Mathematics Content Standards:
AfterSchool KidzLit
AfterSchool KidzMath
AfterSchool KidzScience (to come summer 2011)

Q: Does the AfterSchool KidzLit program qualify as an evidence-based literacy program?

A: Click here to find the results of our evaluation study of the AfterSchool KidzLit program. You can also learn more about the scientific basis that our program developers used to create the program by clicking here.

Q: How are the trade book sets in the AfterSchool KidzLit themed and what values are represented in the books? Also, what books are included in each themed set?

A: The entire AfterSchool KidzLit K–8 program includes 18 themed sets of 10 books. Click here to download a list of each themed set and the books included in each set. Click here to download a list of values and the books that reinforce each value.

Q: Does each themed set in the AfterSchool KidzLit program come with 10 copies of the same book or are they different?

A: Each grade-level AfterSchool KidzLit themed set contains 10 different trade books, 10 Leader’s Guides (one for each trade book), and a copy of the Quick Tips Plus booklet and CD-ROM that together offer leaders additional support, ideas, and site video lesson examples.

Q: Does your organization have any developed instrument on self-esteem evaluation in after-school programs?

A: There are two assessment tools to use with the AfterSchool KidzLit program: the Youth Questionnaire and the Interview about Reading. The Youth Questionnaire measures feelings about reading, amount of reading, and social/ethical attitudes. The Interview about Reading measures enjoyment of reading, feelings about reading ability, and amount of reading. To find out more about these assessment tools, click here.

Q: Do you have leveling information for the trade books in the AfterSchool KidzLit program?

A: The books in the AfterSchool KidzLit program have been selected based on quality, interest level, and diversity of cultural perspectives. The selections focus on situations that are developmentally appropriate for and relevant to young people’s lives. Because the books were chosen to be used primarily as read alouds, we did not level them other than by interest level. However, if you’re interested in leveled books, we suggest our AfterSchool KidzLibrary and the accompanying Independent Reading Time Handbook alongside the AfterSchool KidzLit program to complete your after-school literacy program.

Libraries and Trade Book Sets

Q: Do you provide reading levels for the trade books in your programs?

A: We provide reading levels for our Individualized Daily Reading Libraries only. The Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading and Lexile reading levels for current IDR books are listed on our website. Please click here to find links to each grade-level library set and their corresponding reading levels.

We strive to update these lists monthly to reflect the books that are currently being sold. Because IDR books are sometimes replaced, you may find that you have books that do not appear on these lists. If this is the case, send us the replacement books’ titles, and we will provide you with the levels. Please note that the reading levels of replacement books may not be the same as those of the books they replace.

Q: What do “WB” and “LB” mean? They appear in your lists of Individualized Daily Reading Library trade books for kindergarten and grade 1, in the Guided Reading level columns.

A: “WB” stands for “Wordless Book”—a book with pictures but no words. “LB” stands for “Label Book”—a book with labeled pictures but no complete sentences.

Q: Is there a difference in the Individualized Daily Reading Support Kit at grades 2 and 3?

A: The trade books and sample conferences used in the support kits are grade-level specific, so they are completely different, but the instructional content is similar from grade to grade.


Q: What math programs do you offer?

A: We offer the following math programs:

AfterSchool KidzMath
The Math Explorer
Number Power

Q: Do you offer programs for middle or high school students?

A: Our Making Meaning reading comprehension program was developed for grades K–8, and our SIPPS systematic decoding program serves grades K–12. We also offer two after-school enrichment programs for older students—AfterSchool KidzLit for grades K–8 and Math Explorer for grades 6–8.