Newsmakers: Anoka-Hennepin Superintendent Explains How District Chooses Curriculum
During the most recent school board races, many candidates brought up concerns over what is being taught in local schools.
Most recently, Anoka-Hennepin School District expanded its Curriculum Advisory Committee to include more community members to address this issue.
In this week’s Newsmakers, we sat down with District Superintendent, David Law, to learn more about how the district determines what curriculum is put in place for its students.
“There are a lot of drivers for changing curriculum. Some of it gets old or outdated,” said Law. “But the main reason for curricular change are updated state standards, whether it be math or language arts.”
Law said internal curriculum experts and teachers review materials to see how current materials might match up to new state expectations. Law says the process is involved and lengthy.
The public is part of the process too
The Anoka-Hennepin School District expanded its Community Curriculum Advisory Committee (CCAC) to include more community members who are not staff or parents.
“In a typical adoption process, a group of teachers will select a handful of materials to pilot, but in that process, we run it through a group of school board members to see the process, and then a group of parents and community members who will look at materials to provide input. This current year, we are adding 5 community members that aren’t parents in our system,” said Law. “The goal is to answer the parents’ question, ‘how do we have an opportunity to review this?'”
The CCAC’s purpose is to:
- Review PreK-12 curriculum, assessment, and instructional programming through a community lens.
- Review proposed changes to curriculum, assessment, and instructional programming including new resources, courses, programs, assessments, etc.
- Provide input and feedback to the School Board on proposed curriculum changes.
The committee is currently composed of parents/guardians of elementary, middle and high school students representing each high school attendance area in the district. Beginning in January, this committee will open up five positions for community members. These new voluntary positions are intended to be specifically for community members without current students enrolled in any Anoka-Hennepin school. This is a two-year term.
CCAC meets monthly throughout the year to preview adoptions and standards changes as they are considered through the system. Meetings are scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the following dates: Jan. 20, Feb. 17, March 24, April 21 and May 19 at the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Service Center (ESC), located at 2727 N. Ferry St. in Anoka.
Superintendent Law also says that every time there’s a curriculum change, the district will place the materials in a room and open it up for a few hours in the evening so the public can review what’s being considered. The latest on availability and the expansion of the Curriculum Advisory Committee is available on the district’s website.
“It’s never just two to three people in the district office selecting materials. It’s always a lot of students, a lot of parents and an opportunity for public input,” said Law.