Ongoing Curricular Review
During the 2019-2020 school year, the District refocused its curricula review on English Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies with the goal of examining the perspectives that are represented to ensure culturally responsive curriculum and instruction. This work will remain a point of emphasis in 2020-2021. Two prime sources for this work have been Teaching Tolerance and Facing History, focusing on multiple perspectives and social justice.
The Social Studies and ELA curriculums have undergone an intentional and explicit curricular review with regards to equity. Teachers in these content areas have received training and participated in collaborative professional development sessions on facilitating civil discourse and implementing best practices in social justice education. These professional development opportunities have been facilitated by District staff as well as by representatives from Teaching Tolerance and Facing History. Through these frameworks, teachers have immersed themselves in instructional practices that facilitate the development of inclusive, reflective classroom environments where students are exposed to multiple perspectives and explore the diverse experiences of people throughout history and in works of literature. As a result of this collaborative partnership between Social Studies and ELA, teachers across the District have found ways to enhance Social Studies instruction by infusing meaningful works of literature as accompanying pieces to the history. In turn, ELA teachers have been providing critical historical context to the works of literature they read with students. The development of cross-curricular essential questions has allowed students to make connections across the content areas and foster critical and creative thinking about issues related to equity.
Additionally, teachers have been engaging in an ongoing review of the instructional resources and materials that are used with students to ensure that all voices and perspectives are included and validated in the curriculum. As a result of this work, enhanced resources are being implemented, new textbooks have been adopted for multiple courses, and classroom libraries are being examined with an eye on equity of voice. This work is ongoing and informed by current best practices, new learning and community engagement.