March 2020 – West Bend, WI – On Monday, March 9 the West Bend School Board will vote on updating science textbook.
There was a curriculum update, February 24, presented by Kevin Hyde, Laura Jackson, Robert Muelbauer, and Timothy Harder.
Members of the community were invited to give feedback and the topic generating the most comments involved the new science textbooks.
Instructor Muelbauer said several science teachers from the high school had gone on learning walks and there was a lot of discussion about Badger and Silverbrook.
“We were at Silverbook looking at the amplified curriculum and how they interacted with science and eventually we’ll get those kids through Badger and at the high school but currently we’re dealing with some textbooks that are 15, 18, and 20 years maybe since we’ve gotten a new one and in no way does it resemble the way they would interact with the primary resource at those grade levels,” said Muelbauer. “So, that’s part of the main driver of wow we need to really up our game here to meet the kids where they’re at and so we can build them from there.”
Laura Jackson said the board will be asked to purchase the textbooks on March 9.
“All of the major textbook companies will have a biology-specific textbook,” said Jackson. “There’s also a way to purchase unit by unit.”
“Our state standard testing for science has been very high,” said board member Kurt Rebholz. “So obviously there’s been many right decisions along the lines for many years to select the right curriculum to prepare our students for their next level.”
There was community feedback from a handful of neighbors. “We tried to make it as convenient for parents as possible and nobody showed up but at night five community members were there,” said Jackson. “The comments related to the textbook are below.”
Jackson clarified the meeting times for the public to review the potential new Biology instructional resource: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 from 6:45 a.m. – 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. “There was a late night meeting by request,” said Jackson.
“The times selected were intended when parents were coming to pick up or drop off students so they could potentially stay a little longer and hopefully make that work for them,” said Jackson.
The textbook being reviewed was over 100 pages in length and there was supplementary resource also available for review which includes a student journal or a glossary of terms. “Generally we have a window of time so people can choose to spend as much time as they want. Some end up coming back.”
Jackson said several notifications went out about the book review time: “Student information system sends a biweekly newsletter to families; it goes to every family in the district unless a family has blocked it. That email total is in the thousands. It also went to school messenger through Badger families and high school families – freshman and sophomore. The number of student families receiving that would be in the thousands. A notification was also posted on the district Facebook page, so the general public would be notified.” Jackson did not know how many times that notification was posted.
Questioned about how encouraging it was to send out notification to thousands and have five people participate. “That turnout is pretty consistent,” said Jackson. ”
The board asked no questions about the specific community feedback.
A couple bullet points on topic:
– Jackson said the “public comments (above) will be shared with the teachers when they begin training.”
– Jackson addressed the parent concerns. “We have evidence our glaciers are melting or pieces are falling off and when you look historically we have had changes we refer to as ice ages and stuff like that over the history of the earth, where we have evidence of glaciers coming down. It is theory and it is presented as a theory,” said Jackson. “I’m going to have to look at the resource and look at the standards.”
– “If this resource purchase is approved then we will move forward with our training and we will look at if we’ll tweak any of our sections and provide specific evidence or are we going to handle it as is,” said Jackson.
– Jackson said instructors would be trained “partially in June and partially in August.”
– After the meeting Muelbauer said he didn’t have time for a couple questions because he was hungry.
-Board member Paul Fischer said he had not seen the textbook in question, however he was traveling out of state and would catch up on his return.
-Board member Chris Zywgart said he had not seen the textbook nor the parent comments.
-Emails were sent to the rest of the board and as of 10 p.m. Sunday there was no response.
-The board will vote Monday, March 9 on the textbooks. Jackson said the input review from the community was posted in the board members Board Docs information.
-The board votes to approve the text as the resource and the dollars,” said Jackson. “It’s not typical for the board to have physically reviewed all the textbooks. You call around and ask other districts and other school boards; do they actually sit down and review the textbooks. Only those who ask, that’s typical. They’re approving the resource and they’re trusting their admin to move forward with a resource that will meet the student need.”
Jackson also noted, the question below that was in student learning material has been addressed and removed.