By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education is reviewing the social studies curriculum for grades K-12, but district officials said it is not part of the Culturally Responsive Education program.
“We’re not adopting a new social studies curriculum. The current State of Ohio Social Studies Academic Content Standards were adopted in 2018, so there’s no change. We’re just updating the materials and resources being used as part of our regular cycle of review,” said Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner. “We are proposing to purchase instructional materials and resources (textbooks, digital resources, periodicals, etc.) at the cost of $360,796 spread over three years. In addition, there are materials and resources we’ll continue using that we already have in place. We expect to have new resources and materials in place for the start of the 2021-22 school year.”
He said the district follows the State of Ohio’s Academic Content Standards, which is technically the curriculum Groveport Madison adopted.
“We’re proposing to purchase updated materials and resources to assist our teachers in their work of educating our students,” said Warner. “The board is responsible for adopting instructional resources and materials for all content areas and courses. The Teaching and Learning Department uses policy and administrative guidelines to facilitate the curriculum and instructional materials procurement process.”
Warner said the Teaching and Learning instructional resources and materials review and adoption process relies heavily on collaboration and expertise with teachers across all curricular areas.
“It processes data and feedback to ensure alignment with the content standards and to create a shared vision of curriculum design and implementation,” said Warner. “We follow a research-based process when reviewing curriculum/instructional materials.”
This process includes: analysis of student data and monitoring of student learning; gap analysis and survey data; review of key standards and focus area; goal setting; research and Vett Potential Resources; vendor presentations; committee review and Cultural Responsiveness Scorecard; community review; committee recommendation; and administrative recommendation and presentation to the board.
Not part of Culturally
Responsive Education program
Culturally Responsive Education is a research-based approach that connects what students learn in school and their cultures, languages, and life experiences. This program requires students to be culturally competent to learn about the various cultural aspects of a community. It is a program that can be politically controversial and some people believe it can be divisive.
However, Warner said Groveport Madison’s social studies curriculum is not part of the Culturally Responsive Education program.
“With our 2021 social studies instructional resources review, we conducted a gap analysis to determine what material, supplies, and other resources might be missing as they relate to meeting the State of Ohio Social Studies Academic Content Standards, that were updated in 2018,” said Warner. “Among the gaps identified were materials and resources that encompass and reflect equity and diversity. There were other gaps as well based on specific grade-level standards.”
A diverse school district
According to information provided by Groveport Madison, the district is diverse. There are nearly 30 different languages spoken in Groveport Madison schools. Students’ ethnic diversity break down is: African-American (44.1 percent), Caucasian (36.8 percent), Hispanic (8.8 percent), multi-racial (8.2 percent), Asian (1.9 percent), Pacific Islander (.22 percent), and American Indian/Alaskan Native (.07 percent).
“Using a culturally relevant scorecard was an essential aspect of our materials review process,” said Warner. “We are an urban school district with significant diversity among our students. We have an obligation to be culturally sensitive and responsible in all aspects of what we teach and how we understand various cultures and positively interact with one another.”
Why update social studies program?
“Curricular materials and resources for are customarily reviewed every four years to ensure that they remain current and relevant to today’s world and reflect the State of Ohio’s Academic Content Standards,” said Warner. “Having a scheduled curricular materials and resources review process is a best practice performed by most high-performing school districts across the nation.”
The board will vote on the social studies curriculum at a future meeting.
Other Groveport Madison news
•The board approved the purchase and set-up of a used modular classroom unit at Groveport Elementary at a cost of $391,067.
•The board approved the purchase of 200 Lenovo Chromebook Tablets for use in the Li’l Cruiser Campus with pre-k students at a cost of $76,300. It also approved the purchase of 320 Dell Chromebooks for K-5 staff members at a cost of $84,800.