Curriculum and Instruction

Note: This is a section of a larger set of policy and practice proposals before our board and community. Contact our office for additional information and to provide feedback or become involved. Sections will be updated as changes are made.

Highlights of proposed actions: 

  1. Updated policy, procedure and yearly disseminating plan
  2. Instructional programs based on high expectations for all while respecting unique gifts and barriers
  3. Multi-year Diversity Reviews of curricular materials.
  4. Misinformation boundaries in curricular plans
  5. Uphold truth, evidence, and critical engagement in curricular materials
  6. Disarming “neutrality” that promotes prejudice
  7. Expansion of access to rigorous programs
  8. Personalized and affirming Universal Instruction
  9. Asset based vs deficit-oriented instruction and grading
  10. Non-disruptive process for addressing parental feedback

Proposed Section in Full

Section 3 (c): Actions Related to Curriculum and Instruction

i.    Rescind outdated curriculum policy and procedure and task the committee and district experts with the development of a new document that starts with access, diversity, equity and community cultural wealth in mind. Updated curriculum policy shall be presented to new teaching personnel at the beginning of every school year to ensure appropriate and ongoing dissemination and consistent implementation. Specific procedure to fulfill this requirement shall be produced within the larger curricular procedure accompanying the updated policy.
 
ii.    Task the superintendent with the establishment and maintenance of programs and structures of oversight that ensure the implementation of a rigorous curriculum and educational program for all students, but especially for those who are consistently marginalized. These structures shall be grounded on the belief that all students deserve high expectations while understanding that students’ abilities and aspirations vary in nature and scope. All students will be supported at the level they need to attain their maximum academic and personal potential.
 
iii.    Implement regular reviews (every three years or less) to ensure curricular materials, units, and practices promote exposure to diversity and the representation of peoples who are traditionally invisible in educational materials. The selected audit tool shall at minimum gauge representation levels in images, stories, information, statistics, and mathematical problems that involve people with disabilities, communities of color, diverse faiths and holidays, non-traditional families, languages, and names from languages other than English, etc. External tools may be selected to assist in this endeavor, but formal reviews should be performed primarily by existing personnel, led by the superintendent’s designee, and vetted by the committee.
 
iv.    Require that new curricular materials and school-level instructional plans (e.g., scope and sequence document) delineate boundaries of what constitutes misinformation, intolerance toward innate differences, hate speech, and stereotypical narratives or tropes.
 
v.    In the spirit of building civically informed, civically engaged, and civically humble young adults, counteract attempts to re-frame historical and factual atrocities and injustices against Native Americans and people of color as providential, unavoidable, and even “good.” Task principals and leaders to revamp or reiterate expectations for the acquisition and utilization of evidence-based content, the advancement of critical thinking, and the exposure to difficult yet necessary historical truths across all content areas. This requirement reiterates our responsibility to uphold existing academic standards, state and federal law, and district mission and principles.
 
vi.    Establish curricular, instructional, and assessment procedure that prevents claims of “neutrality” to be invoked for purposes of providing a platform of equal standing to hateful, racist, sexist, antisemitic, intolerant, and otherwise violent views against minoritized or historically oppressed groups and identities when accompanying topics of clear moral weight (in the spirit defined and developed throughout this policy). For example, “neutrality” shall not be claimed to provide “fair treatment” to the “perspectives” of Nazis or plantation owners or to explore the “positive aspects” of slavery, of genocide against Native Americans, of keeping women from voting, or abducting Japanese Americans into internment camps, etc. Administrators shall remain vigilant of student tasks or instructional materials that fail to provide disclaimers of the inherent immorality and evil of atrocities for which well-documented and overwhelming scholarly consensus exists, and act swiftly against the tacit endorsement of these views. While it is not the intent of this clause to “police” educator behavior, emphasis is made on immediately acting on concerns brought forward by students, staff, or other members of the school community and on the periodic review of practices as stated in accompanying clauses.
 
vii.    Initiate the expansion of programs that promote high expectations and innovative coursework. In addition to the expansion, the superintendent or designee shall institute permanent strategic practices to ensure and promote access for students who do not typically participate in these opportunities, whose community cultural wealth is seldom valued, or who are traditionally underrepresented.
 
viii.    Promote the establishment or revision of direct instructional practices and procedures that: hold students and staff members to high standards; promote universal access and inclusion for students; are personalized and make intentional efforts to see the whole student; recognize the value and assets of students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds; reflect and celebrate diversity; encourage student agency; nurture curiosity and exploration; strive to build expert and independent learners; acknowledge and account for historical inequities among racialized and marginalized groups; are attuned to the role of personal and systemic bias; and are respectful of and responsive to learner differences. 
 
ix.    Review grading practices to ensure consistency across classrooms and departments, and to encourage proficiency-oriented approaches that are subject-specific yet age appropriate and holistic (compassionate and aware of the whole person and their humanity), rather than based on criteria that is deficit-oriented, punitive, comparative, and narrow.
 
x.    Enact clear procedure to (a) assess the relevance and appropriateness of curricular materials or practices and to (b) respond to concerns from parents, guardians, or community members in a manner that is respectful of the concerns but does not constantly interrupt the work of educators. This procedure shall be implemented to minimize ambiguity but should not be used as an intimidation tool against teachers. Safeguarding measures within the procedure shall be included to prevent distractions or partisan disruptions to the educational program, so that teachers are allowed to teach without the constant prospect of politically charged harassment.