Updated: Mar 1, 2021
Jefferson County School Board is hosting a series of Community Budget Forums for the 2021/22 school year. Budget statements are value statements, so I encourage GAC members to attend a meeting with board members. There are three more days scheduled: February 20, 23, 26, 2021. Here is the sign-up link. Other options for engagement are sending a comment or speaking at a board meeting, both linked here.
Our public schools play an integral role in fostering antiracism in Golden and Jefferson County. We are grateful for our relationships with parents at Mitchell and Bell. Mitchell has had great success using the Amaze Works curriculum and Bell is implementing No Place for Hate this year. We hope that these successes will encourage other schools to implement the programs. With these wins in our heart, the whole district is a next step in our advocacy efforts.
Here are some things that schools can budget for that align with the GAC mission:
· Adopt an Antiracism policy, here is an example.
· Implement Culturally Responsive and Project Based Learning across the district.
· Ensure that Restorative Practices are implemented with fidelity across Jeffco.
· Provide free eye and dental exams for students, prioritizing title one schools.
· Increase councilors in all schools, prioritizing title one schools.
· Phase out the School Resource Officer program, prioritizing title one schools.
· Deliberately recruit, hire, and retain teachers of color.
·Adopt a parent fundraising model that promotes equity by pooling and distributing moneys raised equally among community schools in the district.
Literacy curriculum should rise from Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
Jefferson County Schools are considering three literacy curriculums costing $8 - 16 million dollars ($100 - 200 per student) to meet state laws for science based curriculum. Although I wholeheartedly support efforts to improve literacy, when uniform approach is adopted the consequences are unequal in different student groups. We know the pattern, white children perform better on literacy assessments than students of color. Uniform curriculum does not close academic disparities among students, the items listed above do.
We must advocate that the literacy curriculum is built form a foundation of Culturally Responsive pedagogy that values multilingual students and multimodal literacy. This is invaluable to ensure that students have a diversity of teaching styles, a variety of content, and a range opportunities to show their knowledge. Curriculum ought to be flexible in implementation. Our creative and talented teachers need to be able to teach the students in the classroom and not simply regurgitate curriculum.
There are three literacy curriculums in consideration: Wonders 2020 (McGraw Hill), Into Reading, and Benchmark Workshop. Into Reading includes Culturally Responsive pedagogy, values multilingual students, and draws from books with diverse representation, meeting more ideal components than the other two options. What do other folks think?