Category I: Instruction
Procedure I4: Selection Of Curriculum & Instructional Materials
Curriculum and instructional materials shall support the goals of the Districts’ mission statement and fulfill the following expectations established by School Committee policy:
- Preserve students’ rights to learn in an atmosphere of academic freedom;
- Support teachers’ rights to exercise professional judgment in their work and balance this right with their responsibility to meet the national and state standards, as well as published district curriculum goals; and
- Reflect current research and instructional methodology.
The Superintendent is responsible for the Districts’ planning and implementation regarding curriculum and instructional materials. The Superintendent shall designate a senior administrator to oversee curriculum and instruction. The designee should possess knowledge of curriculum and curriculum review, the Massachusetts curriculum requirements, and up-to-date instructional practices.
The process of curriculum development and review will be overseen and coordinated by the Superintendent’s designee. Whenever possible, the curriculum development and review process should be collaborative, involving key curriculum leaders in the schools (such as department heads in the secondary schools) and other knowledgeable stakeholders. Opportunities should be provided for input and feedback from teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and specialists regarding current and planned curricula.
Proposals for new curriculum or significant changes to existing curriculum must be approved by the Superintendent. To provide transparency, the recommendation and/or the rationale will be made available to key stakeholders at the discretion of the Superintendent. Curriculum changes involving significant cost or having significant public impact should be shared with the School Committee.
The Districts seek to have and use instructional materials that enable all students to succeed. The process for consideration of instructional materials will be overseen and coordinated by the Superintendent’s designee.
When considering instructional materials to be used by the Districts, a range of resources should be reviewed. Factors to be considered when selecting instructional materials should include but not be limited to: alignment with state, national, and local standards; inclusion of multiple perspectives; use of/need for technology resources; differentiated instruction options; availability of effective assessments; and cost (both initial purchase and recurring costs). Selection of instructional materials should also include development of appropriate review and evaluation criteria.
Given that the Districts are supported with public funds, securing instructional materials should be done in a fiscally responsible manner. The Districts should try to secure the best pricing possible and, whenever applicable and appropriate, free materials should be sought.
Whenever possible, the instructional materials selection and review process should be collaborative and inclusive. Since instructional materials are central to the work of classroom teachers, teachers should play an important role in reviewing and recommending materials for use. The district will provide opportunities for teachers, administrators, parents and community members to provide feedback on current/proposed instructional materials. Whenever possible, professionals within the district, as well as other districts that have experience using the proposed instructional materials, should be contacted to learn about pros/cons and related implementation issues.
All recommendations for securing instructional materials should be submitted in writing to the Superintendent by his/her designee responsible for curriculum and instruction. Recommendations must include a rationale. The Districts recognize that all instructional materials have constraints and weaknesses; these should be acknowledged and also included as part of the recommendation. A professional development and implementation plan should accompany any recommendation. To provide transparency, the recommendation and/or the rationale will be made available to key stakeholders at the discretion of the Superintendent.