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606 Policy: Selection and Review of Instructional Resources

  • 600: Education Programs
606 Policy: Selection and Review of Instructional Resources
Adopted Review Frequency
Policy Adopted: 3-29-79
Amended: 5-08-85
Amended: 7-27-95
Amended: 6-24-99
Amended: 8-07-03
Renumbered: 3-11-21
Revised: 1-24-2023
3 Years

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to provide direction for selection of textbooks and instructional
materials.

II. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

The school board recognizes that selection of textbooks and instructional materials is a vital component of the school district’s curriculum. The school board also recognizes that it has the authority to make final decisions on selection of all textbooks and instructional materials. District 834 encourages staff to innovate and test effective strategies that are designed to enhance student achievement. This includes use of curriculum enhancements and methodologies that result in higher academic success for all students. Resources shall enhance learning and critical thinking and promote respect and understanding of all individuals and groups. Resources shall be selected to bring focus to the teaching process.

III. DEFINITIONS

A. Instructional Resources
Instructional resources are defined as anything that is read, listened to, manipulated, observed or used by students as part of the instructional process in classrooms and school sponsored activities. Instructional resources include, but are not limited to, the following: books; periodicals; manipulatives; textbooks; audio and visual recordings; online databases; Internet sites; device apps and web-based applications; and other print, nonprint, and electronic resources, field trips, and speakers.

B. Core Instructional Resources
Core resources are instructional resources that comprise the standard learning experience of a course and are consistently utilized across all sections. Core resources are maintained throughout the span of a review cycle. Examples of core resources may include textbooks, whole-class novels, and lab kits.

C. Supporting Instructional Resources
Supporting resources are instructional resources that are provisionally selected in order to complement core resources on a given topic. Usage of supporting resources may vary by student, section, and teacher and are implemented over a short instructional period. Examples of supporting resources may include current event articles, internet resources, and student-selected materials.

IV. RESPONSIBILITY FOR SELECTION

A. The superintendent shall be responsible for developing procedures and guidelines to establish an orderly process for the review and recommendation of textbooks and other instructional materials by the professional staff. Such procedures and guidelines shall provide opportunity for input and consideration of the views of students, parents, and other interested members of the school district community. This procedure shall be coordinated with the school district’s curriculum development effort and may utilize advisory committees.

V. SELECTION OF TEXTBOOKS AND OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

A. The superintendent shall be responsible for keeping the school board informed of progress on the part of staff and others involved in the textbook and other instructional materials review and selection process.

B. The superintendent shall present a recommendation to the school board on the selection of textbooks and other instructional materials for purchase after completion of the review process as outlined in this policy.

C. Consistent with District 834’s mission and core values, professional staff shall use the following criteria for the selection, use, and retention of instructional materials. The materials shall:

1. be quality materials, appropriate to the level of instruction, and support the
goals and objectives of the education programs;

2. be appropriate to the age, social development and maturity of the users;

3. be judged in total rather than in part;

4. represent a diversity of views and expression in order to promote learning,
critical thinking and objective evaluation;

5. promote, respect and understanding of individuals and groups to foster
appreciation for cultural diversity and varied opinion;

6. reflect the history, culture and contributions of members of a diverse society;

7. be used in a manner that enables students to recognize potential bias;

8. provide a background of information designed to motivate students to:

a) examine their own attitudes and behaviors.
b) comprehend their duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges in a democratic society.

9. permit grade-level instruction for students to read and study documents that contributed to the foundation or maintenance of the United States’ representative form of limited government, the Bill of Rights, our free-market economic system, and patriotism; and

10. not censor or restrain instruction in United States or Minnesota state history or heritage based on religious references in original source documents, writings, speeches, proclamations, or records.

D. Procedures for Selection/Use/Retention

1. In selecting/using/retaining resources for instructional programs,
professional personnel will, when applicable:

a) assess curricular needs.
b) evaluate the existing resources for educational suitability.
c) preview or examine the potential resources.
d) select, use and retain resources according to criteria.
e) collaborate, when possible, with other agencies such as other professional
organizations, libraries, and electronic databases.
f) refer to reputable, professionally prepared reviews. remove resources that are no
longer used for instruction.
g) view films/videos in their entirety before use to determine if they meet criteria.

2. Additionally, the following procedures will apply to specific types of resources.

a) Core Instructional Resources:

1) Selection of core instructional resources must follow the long range curriculum development and ongoing continuous
improvement process.
2) The curriculum advisory committee should be used to
collaborate and to assist with core instructional resource
selection.
3) Any proposed lease, purchase, or contract for instructional
materials in excess of Board limits under MN Stat. § 123B.52,
Subd.2 and MN Stat. § 471.345, Subd. 3 must be specifically
authorized by the Board.

b) Supporting Instructional Resources;
The teacher may select supporting instructional resources that will
increase effectiveness in meeting curriculum objectives. The teacher
recognizes the responsibility to use good judgment in the selection, use, and retention of resources. The teacher who is in doubt concerning the advisability of using certain resources that may be controversial in the classroom will consult with the building principal or designee and
determine a next course of action.

c) Gift resources will be judged by the criteria for selection, use, and
retention as stated above and should be accepted or rejected on that
basis.

d) Instructional resources that contain material known to be controversial, such as gratuitous acts of violence, explicit sexual acts, and/or obscene language may be introduced into the classroom after consultations with and approval by the building principal and parental notification. Parents or guardians shall have the opportunity to review the material and arrange for alternative instruction.


VI. INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES REVIEW AND REQUEST FOR ALTERNATIVE
INSTRUCTION

A. Parents, guardians or adult students, 18 years of age or older, can review the content of instructional resources used in the classroom. Arrangements to review resources can be made with school personnel

B. If the parent, guardian or adult student objects to the content of the instructional materials, alternative instruction may be requested.

C. Alternative instruction may be provided by the parent, guardian, or adult student if the alternative instruction, if any, offered by the school board does not meet the concerns of the parent, guardian, or adult student.

D. The school board is not required to pay for the costs of alternative instruction provided by a parent, guardian or adult student.

E. School personnel may not impose an academic or other penalty upon a student merely for arranging alternative instruction. School personnel may evaluate and assess the quality of the student’s work.

VII. RECONSIDERATION OF TEXTBOOKS OR OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

A. Statement of Procedure and To Whom It Applies
This policy provides procedure by which adult students, parents, or guardians may request reconsideration of instructional resources.

B. A challenge is defined as a written statement of opposition to a resource requesting that it be excluded, included or restricted.

C. Step by Step Procedure When a Challenge Occurs

1. The challenger will be directed and assisted in meeting with the appropriate teacher(s), library media specialist(s) or instructor(s) for an informational meeting regarding the use of the resource in question. The staff member will immediately advise the school principal or designee of the challenge and then attempt to resolve the issue informally in a respectful manner.

2. After reading or viewing the challenged material in its entirety, the challenger will be given a copy of this policy and may submit a “Statement of Concern About Instructional Resources” form to the principal of the school involved. The certified personnel involved will submit to the principal a “Staff Response to Challenged Resources” form within five (5) working days of receipt of the “Statement of Concern About Instructional Resources.” The principal will inform the superintendent and other appropriate personnel of the challenge. A complete copy of the “Staff Response to Challenged Resources” will be provided to the challenger.

3. Upon receipt of the completed forms, a Resource Review Committee will convene within fifteen (15) working days. It will be up to the discretion of the
superintendent or their designee whether or not the challenged resource be used during the reconsideration process. The membership of the committee will be composed of the superintendent's designee, the principal, a library/media specialist, two parents, students where appropriate, and three teachers. No committee member will be a party to the challenged resource’s request for reconsideration.
4. The Resource Review Committee will take the following steps:

a) Read, view or listen to the resource in its entirety;
b) Invite the challenger and certified staff to the meetings of the committee as observers if they wish to be present for purposes of clarification;
c) Check general acceptance of the resource by reading reviews and consulting recommended lists;
d) Determine the extent to which the resource supports the curriculum and meets the selection/use/retention criteria;
e) Review the “Statement of Concern” and “Staff Response to Challenged Resources” in the presence of the certified staff and challenger if they wish to be present to observe the proceedings;
f) Complete the “Resource Review Committee Response” form, judging the material for its strength and value as a whole and not in part; and
g) Present a written decision to the challenger within twenty (20) working days of the initial Resources Review Committee meeting.

5. If either party is not satisfied with the decision of the Resource Review
Committee, the decision may be appealed to the school board through the
superintendent. The school board shall notify the challenger when the challenge will be considered by the board. Any decision made by the school board will be final.


VIII. GUIDELINES PERTAINING TO OVERDUE, DAMAGED OR LOST
INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES
Instructional resources or media center materials issued to students become the
responsibility of the student. Loss or unreasonable wear and tear will result in the student being appropriately assessed for the resource. Consequences may result from failure to compensate the school district for lost or damaged textbooks or library materials.

Legal References: Minn. Stat. § 120A.22, Subd. 9 (Compulsory Instruction)
Minn. Stat. § 120B.235 (American Heritage Education)
Minn. Stat. § 123B.02, Subd. 2 (General Powers of Independent School
Districts)
Minn. Stat. § 123B.09, Subd. 8 (School Board Responsibilities)
Minn. Stat. § 124D.59-124D.61 (Education for English Learners Act)
Minn. Stat. § 127A.10 (State Officials and School Board Members to be
Disinterested; Penalty)
Hazelwood Sch. Dist. v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988)
Pratt v. Independent Sch. Dist. No. 831, 670 F.2d 771 (8th Cir. 1982)