Curriculum, Courses of Study, and Instructional Materials

Curriculum is a standards-aligned series of content and experiences presented to students in our classrooms that allows students to practice and ultimately achieve grade level proficiency. Curriculum should provide guidance on what the essential learning experiences are for every student and the instructional methods or strategies to implement to ensure a rigorous academic experience for all students. Our curriculum work includes defining Courses of Study and selecting Instructional Materials.

The Office of Superintendent of Pubic Instruction provide the following definitions:

Course of Study—process that includes identifying and sequencing essential content supporting students' skill development towards state learning standards. Course design involves providing appropriate instructional materials, professional development, and support systems for teachers as they implement the course.

Instructional Materials—all materials designed for use by students and their teachers as learning resources to help students to acquire facts, skills, and/or to develop cognitive processes. Types of instructional materials include core, alternative core, intervention, supplemental, and temporary supplemental. These instructional materials, used to help students meet state learning standards, may be printed or digital, and may include textbooks, technology-based materials, other educational media, and assessments. They may carry different licensing types from open to all rights reserved.

Local Policy and Procedure

Our local policy makes clear that it is essential to have courses that are reflective of the needs of our students, and that are in alignment with state and district standards. As the needs of students, or the expectations of state and district standards, shift over time, course offerings and the related instructional materials must be brought into alignment with the needs of students and expectations of the state and district. To propose new courses, there is a process used for middle school and high school.

For complete information on our local policy that guides our curriculum work, please review the Curriculum Development and Adoption of Instructional Materials Policy.

There is an expectation that instructional materials reflect the concerns and contributions of all groups. Specifically, our instructional materials need to provide models which may be used as a vehicle for the development of self-respect, ethnic pride and appreciation of cultural differences, based on respect for the worth, dignity, and personal values of every individual and should be free of bias. In addition, our instructional materials need to represent various views of issues to support students in developing the skills of critical analysis and informed decision making.

For complete information on our local procedure that guides our curriculum work, please review the Curriculum Development and Adoption of Instructional Materials Procedure.

With the adoption of our Racial Equity Policy in May of 2020, the Mount Vernon School Board provided additional direction regarding curriculum work. The policy calls on educators to create learning environments relevant to and reflective of our students’ lived experiences, as well as school and district cultures that value all of our students’ unique backgrounds and contributions in our society, and to facilitate critical student dialogues to enhance cultural understandings, agency and advocacy for social justice.

There is initial work underway to include Social Justice Standards in our courses of study. This includes an understanding of intersectionality or intersectional ties which are the cumulative way in which the effects of mult