Superintendent Anna Shepherd discusses parent concerns pertaining to
content in a reading curriculum that all schools with Kindergarten through 8th
grade have adopted. Floyd County Schools sees curriculum as defined as the specific learning standards, lessons, assignments, and materials used to organize and teach a particular course.
Superintendent Shepherd comments, “On Thursday, September 16, we received a concern regarding some content in the reading curriculum we are using, Wit & Wisdom. At that time, our central office instructional team began investigating the concern and meeting with representatives from Wit & Wisdom. In summary, some of the text, which is part of the included materials with the curriculum, was considered inappropriate.” Shepherd continues, “First and foremost, we want parents to understand that our teachers and administrators as well as our board members do not advocate using any material that is inappropriate for children. Our focus with this and any reading curriculum is the standards and the skills that students must master to become better readers. Secondly, we want everyone to know that we are addressing this issue and can assure everyone that nothing in this curriculum will be taught until it has been reviewed. The company has said they will provide substitution texts that can be used for any we deem inappropriate.”
Shepherd says, “Our goal was to find and provide a rigorous reading curriculum that will help our students be better readers with material that is at appropriate reading difficulty levels. We still believe in the structure of this curriculum and much of the text will not be seen as inappropriate. We have had principals tell us that they have witnessed some of the best reading lessons they have seen using this new curriculum, and of course, none of the material they saw was inappropriate.”
Shepherd says, “We are moving ahead with the Wit & Wisdom curriculum and we will substitute any inappropriate texts. As we do not teach the text but rather the standard and the skills, we can substitute the text with other rigorous text. And we have a plan to review all materials.”
In talking about the plan, Shepherd says, “Each school will form committees, through their school councils for example, that will include teachers, administrators and parents. These committees will conduct ongoing reviews of materials and nothing will be taught or introduced to our students before it is reviewed. We have also asked schools to showcase the curriculum at their next open house event for any parent to view.”
Shepherd concludes saying that, “We began addressing this concern immediately and want our parents to know that we will not share inappropriate material with your children. Your children are our kids too and we love them and only want what’s best. We are glad this concern was brought to our attention as we now have a process in place and more awareness of the possibility of questionable content. We welcome parents and community members to get involved with your schools and be part of our committees, councils and volunteer groups. We welcome your input and thank you for letting us educate your children.”