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PACT Charter School
7250 E. Ramsey Parkway
Ramsey, MN 55303

 601_Elementary / Secondary Curriculum Materials Approval Procedure

 Date created: 

 Committee Approval by: 

 Date Approved:

 Reviewed:

 Unknown

 JSC

 20160915

 2016-2017

 BRD

 20161013


Curriculum Material Review Procedures

Faculty and parents may only recommend curriculum materials (literature, text, videos/DVDs, etc.) that they have read or viewed. Students wishing to make a recommendation are encouraged to take it to their parent(s) or a faculty member to bring to the Committee.

  1. The person recommending curriculum materials should complete the top portion of the appropriate review form and place both the form and the material(s) in the Curriculum Coordinator’s box.
  2. The Curriculum Coordinator will act as the Review Coordinator and may request assistance from the Volunteer Coordinator to find reviewers (see reviewer qualifications). Three reviewers (the majority must be parents) will be selected for each item submitted.
  3. Reviewers will read the Elementary/Secondary Curriculum Review Policy, review proposed material and return the form with material to the Curriculum Coordinator’s box by the specified date on the form.
  4. The Curriculum Coordinator will submit material and review forms to the Curriculum Committee Chair-person to be addressed at the next available ECC or SCC meeting.
  5. The Curriculum Committee (ECC or SCC) will discuss and has the option to Approve, Approve as Choice or Disapprove submitted materials (see Curriculum Committee Review Procedures below).
  6. The following appeal process is available:
    1. A teacher or parent may appeal a Committee decision to approve or disapprove any material under consideration.
    2. Curriculum materials that are not approved or successfully appealed may be requested for review after two academic school years.
    3. Curriculum that has not been approved as a complete work may be resubmitted as a section or portion of the work through the appeal process. For example, if a novel/video, as a whole, has not been approved, a portion, such as one chapter/segment, may be resubmitted if only that portion is being used in the curriculum. However, this would mean that only the portion that is submitted would be made available to students—not the complete work. This would allow teachers to illustrate a specific literary device or style used by an author.
    4. The PACT community will be notified by posting on the website under the appropriate Curriculum Committee as well as on the agenda when curriculum material is under appeal. The time and date of the meeting at which the vote will take place will be made public.
    5. The Curriculum Coordinator will get a minimum of three additional qualified reviewers, but more than three qualified reviewers may review the material. All must have the review and evaluation completed by the meeting deadline in order to be considered at the next Curriculum Committee meeting.
    6. The evaluations from the original reviewers and new reviewers will all be taken into consideration.
    7. The Curriculum Committee’s decision becomes the recommendation to the respective programming committee for all appealed curriculum materials.
    8. The review form and recommendations will be kept on file (paper) as part of the official recommendation to the Committee for 3 years. All recommendations and comments will be kept in electronic format (Approval List spreadsheet), which is maintained by the Curriculum Coordinator.
  7. All curriculum material, approved and disapproved, should be entered on the Reviewed Book/Music/Video list by the Curriculum Coordinator.

 

Reviewers’ Qualifications

  1. May be any PACT parent or any PACT faculty member who will not be likely to use the material in their own curriculum.
  2. Must agree to read the 601 - Curriculum Materials Approval Policy that describes philosophies, the approval process, and the definitions for various approval options and make recommendations consistent with the PACT mission, vision and values (not necessarily current social or political thought).
  3. Must be as objective as possible, taking into consideration the grade level and the intended purpose of the material.
  4. If necessary, should agree to attend the Curriculum Committee meeting at which the material will be discussed.

 

Curriculum Reviewer Procedures

  1. Selected reviewers will obtain the appropriate review form and proposed curriculum material from the Curriculum Coordinator along with a copy of the 601 - Curriculum Materials Approval Policy. The reviewer will begin the process by reading the policy in full to understand his/her responsibility.
  2. Prior to reading or watching the proposed curriculum material, the reviewer should think about and understand the age/grade level for which this material is intended. What may be appropriate for one age/grade level may not be appropriate for another. Read or watch the material with this in mind.
  3. The reviewer will provide written feedback, and complete the entire review form. The review form must be signed and dated and the reviewer must recommend whether the material is appropriate for Full Approval, Approval as Choice or Disapproval.
    1. Full Approval: The reviewer recommends approval of the literature for whole class use (with no reservations).
    2. Approval as Choice:
      1. Elementary: The material can be used by a student as a “choice” as authorized by the parent(s). A parent notification must be sent out and signed for each student using this material.
      2. Secondary Only: The reviewer recommends approval of the curriculum material as a guided choice among other options. (See the Classroom and Media Center Book Collections section on page 4 for clarification).
    3. Disapproval: The reviewer believes the curriculum material should not be used by these students. The final approval/disapproval decision of material will be made by the appropriate Curriculum Committee (see procedures below). Disapproval may be due to age/grade appropriateness or other reasons.
  4. Reviewer returns the form and material to the Curriculum Coordinator by the due date established on the form and, if necessary, should agree to be present at the Curriculum Committee meeting at which the proposed curriculum material will be discussed.

 

Curriculum Committee Review Procedures

  1. Approval by the Curriculum Committee: Note: See Textbook addendum
    1. Every effort will be made to give notice of curriculum materials under consideration on the committee agenda, which is posted on the website under Agendas and in the office prior to Committee discussion.
    2. The Curriculum Coordinator will notify through email the reviewers, members of ECC and members of SCC of the items to be reviewed, as applicable by program. Individuals who wish to review material should contact the Curriculum Coordinator. The Curriculum Coordinator will regularly recruit new reviewers, and will systematically assign them so that, to the extent possible, a variety of individuals are reviewing materials for the school.
    3. The Committee will hear and discuss evaluations by the reviewers. At times it might be necessary to gather more information before a decision can be made.
    4. The Committee will then determine the final status of the curriculum material with a simple majority vote.
  2. Review Forms are retained for 3 years and copies are available upon request.
  3. The Elementary/Secondary Programming Committees may occasionally be delegated the responsibility to act in place of the Elementary/Secondary Curriculum Committees in approving curriculum materials when time or need is critical.
  4. Parents who oppose certain pieces of curriculum material for their students after they have been approved may work with the teacher to determine alternative options for their student. The options should be in the same genre, length, difficulty, and time period of the class material to the extent possible.

 

Limited Approval of Curriculum Materials

Occasionally, teachers will find a curriculum resource that they would like to include in a current unit of study, but time constraints prevent them from being able to submit the item for review and approval prior to its use in a timely manner in the classroom. When this occurs, the Curriculum Coordinator may have the materials reviewed through the proper procedure (outlined above), and if all three reviewers approve the resource, it may be used on a limited basis (one time only), and will need to be formally presented for approval at the next scheduled Elementary/Secondary Curriculum Committee meeting.

 

Online and Supplemental Resource Approval

It is understood that as teachers continue to research curriculum content and work to stay current in their field(s) of study, they may find online resources to utilize that will enhance their classroom instruction. It would not be feasible to send each item through the curriculum approval process, so it will be the teacher’s responsibility to be sure that certain criteria are considered for each online resource selected for use. The criteria includes the requirement that the resource material has been read/watched in its entirely prior to classroom use; there is clear justification for its use; and it is the most relevant way to depict the curricular content information to be covered. Teachers will be sure that the resource materials do not depict, promote or advocate substance abuse or sex; there is no vulgarity or profanity; and there is no graphic violence. Teachers will need to be sure that there are no copyright violations resulting from public use of the resource; that it complies with PACT’s 104 - Religious Expression Policy; and does not promote one political party over another. Teachers will sign a form (annually) indicating their intention to adhere to these criteria when selecting online resource materials for classroom use (see sample at end of this document). The signature forms will be submitted to the Curriculum Coordinator.

In addition to online resources, teachers may also find appropriate supplemental print materials (such as workbook or practice pages) that would be appropriate to use, but have not been formally approved. Supplemental materials are defined as items that are not part of an approved curriculum and its ancillary materials. Items selected for use in this way are limited to materials that do not represent an entire unit of study or a printed resource in its entirety. When these materials are selected for use, the teacher should follow the same selection criteria as for online resources.

 

Classroom and Media Center Book Collections

Reading material is readily available within PACT’s Media Center and the Accelerated Reader bookshelves. In addition, each classroom has an assortment of books that are available for student use during the day, and typically these are not checked out or brought home. Teachers will use their best judgment as to the grade-level suitability and content of their classroom book collections according to PACT's Mission Statement and Curriculum Philosophies (see page 1). Teachers will not have books available in their classrooms that are on the Disapproved Booklist. The classroom books will be available for student use, but not part of any student assignments. Due to the large number of books available at PACT, not all books have been formally reviewed, and many are therefore considered “choice” books.

Choice Books in the Elementary are defined as books that can be used by a student as a choice. When used as a part of an assignment the choice book(s) will be authorized by the parent(s) through a signed notification/permission slip for each student.

Choice Books in the Secondary are defined in two ways:

  1. Guided Choice: Students choose a book from a list of predetermined options. At least one of the options will have full approval, and the list will reflect this information. Parents are notified of the list of reading options through the course syllabus that they sign at the beginning of the school year.
  2. Independent Choice: Once a semester, students will have the option to independently choose a novel approved by their parent(s) and the teacher. A separate notification/permission slip will be signed by the parent(s) and teacher confirming the selection. This individual reading assignment is not shared with other students in the class.

Students will be encouraged by teachers to inform their parent(s) of any books that they are reading in the classroom. At times, student(s) will need to have their parent(s) sign a form indicating permission for their student(s) to read a certain book. If a parent considers a book inappropriate, they should first discuss any concerns with the teacher. If the parent continues to be concerned after this discussion, they should bring their concern to the Curriculum Coordinator. If the concern has not been addressed to the parent(s) satisfaction, the Curriculum Chair and Curriculum Coordinator will bring the concern to the Curriculum Committee to be addressed at the next Curriculum Committee meeting. If determined by the Committee, the book may go through the Curriculum Materials Review Procedure and be pulled from the classroom until the appropriate Curriculum Committee has Approved/Disapproved the book. Note: This information should be distributed to all elementary or secondary teachers (depending upon the program level) as this same book may be on numerous classroom shelves throughout the building and may even cross over between programs (i.e. 5/6 books are sometimes on 7/8 classroom shelves or in special education classrooms). At any time, a parent may review the book collection found within the classrooms.

 

Textbooks & Curriculum Application Forms

(Teachers: Note that the approval process for textbooks may take a minimum of six weeks.)

  1. The teacher requesting the texts should work with the Curriculum Coordinator to present at least three texts for consideration, along with a description of strengths and weaknesses of each. The currently-used text may be included as one of the three choices. Both the teacher and Curriculum Coordinator will complete recommendation forms.
  2. At least three reviewers (the majority of whom must be parents) should agree to look closely at the text choices and evaluate them. Background and/or knowledge in the particular subject area are preferred. At times it may become necessary to select reviewers from a wider base than this, because the text content to be reviewed may require specialized background knowledge. If that becomes necessary, the Curriculum Coordinator may select individuals from the extended PACT community to serve as reviewers.
  3. A period of review should be allowed for the PACT community. The textbooks under review should be available in the Curriculum Coordinator’s office for viewing by parents or staff.
  4. The Curriculum Committee should attempt to reach consensus about textbook approvals. If a vote is necessary, the Committee will determine the final status of the textbook with a simple majority vote.
  5. All textbook approvals with a brief report documenting the approval must be sent to the respective Programming Committee for final approval.

 

Videos/DVDs

Videos/DVDs used for classroom curriculum must be approved according to the guidelines set forth in the section entitled: Curriculum Reviewer Procedures regarding materials with full approval.

  1. Elementary
    1. Videos/DVDs rated “G” do not need approval.
    2. Videos/DVDs that are unrated, rated “PG” and documentaries do need approval.
    3. Videos/DVDs rated “PG” require signed permission slips from parent(s).
    4. Videos/DVDs rated “PG-13” or “R” will not be considered.
    5. Videos/DVDs used for social functions where a choice of activities is available MUST be rated “G” or Approved.
    6. Videos/DVDs used for in-school rewards must be approved according to the guidelines established for full approval.
  2. Secondary
    1. Videos/DVDs rated “G,” “PG” or unrated documentaries do not need approval.
    2. Videos/DVDs rated “PG-13” need approval.
    3. Videos/DVDs rated “PG-13” require signed permission slips from parent(s).
    4. Videos/DVDs rated “R” will not be considered.
    5. Videos/DVDs used for Secondary-only social functions where a choice of activities is available must be rated “G” or “PG”. PG-13 is acceptable for Senior only functions. Videos/DVDs used for All-School functions must meet Elementary guidelines and be rated “G” or Approved.
    6. Videos/DVDs used for in-school rewards must be rated G, PG, or be approved according to the guidelines set forth in the section entitled: Curriculum Reviewer Procedures regarding curriculum materials with full approval.
    7. A professionally-edited version of a video/DVD may be approved. When an approved, edited, video/DVD is to be shown, a note should be sent home with the student so the parent is informed that an edited version of the video/DVD will be seen in class.

 

Music and Drama

Due to the group nature of Music and Drama classes, any materials for these subjects need to be approved for whole-class use. Works without lyrics do not need approval. All public Music and Drama productions must include only approved works and production plans must be submitted to the Curriculum Committee for final approval. If necessary, when time or need is critical, production plans may be submitted to Administration for final approval.

 

Software

Curriculum material that has a technology component* must:

  1. Be submitted to the PACT Technology Department to be checked regarding compatibility and licensure.
  2. Be submitted to the Curriculum Coordinator for Curriculum Committee approval.

* That is, any media that must be installed on a computer or interacts with a computer network to be used or viewed.

 

Copyright

Materials proposed for use in the school should adhere to fair use guidelines regarding purpose and character of use, nature and intended use of the copyrighted work (i.e. consumables/workbooks), amount copied, and the cumulative effect (to the copyright holder). Copyrighted materials normally associated with print also govern the use of audio, video, images, and text on the Internet. Information about copyright and fair use is available from the Curriculum Coordinator.