State adopts SpringBoard curriculum
Nevada education officials voted 8-1 to adopt the controversial SpringBoard English curriculum, saying they had faith that Douglas County School Board trustees had done their duty in selecting the curriculum.
Dave Cook, who represents Douglas on the Nevada State Board of Education, seconded a motion to approve the curriculum on Friday morning after a two-hour video- conferenced hearing in Las Vegas and Carson City.
“The Douglas County School District has a lot of respect statewide,” he said. “I support this because I have faith that they will see this through the process and will deal with the issues that are still out there.”
Las Vegan Anthony Ruggiero was the lone vote against adopting the curriculum, saying he wanted more information before he felt comfortable voting for it.
Douglas County Superintendent Lisa Noonan, School Board Trustee Sharla Hales, Lyn Gorrindo and Kerry Pope spoke before the board, which was meeting in Las Vegas.
Proponents characterized the teachers’ opposition, saying there were three major issues, including a unit on grammar, vocabulary and that only one novel is incorporated into the curriculum.
They said that grammar taught in isolation doesn’t translate into students’ writing. SpringBoard encourages students to read additional novels on their own time.
Noonan said the adoption of a new curriculum means that teachers who’ve invested in their lesson plans will have to start over.
SpringBoard is aligned with work being done by the states to adopt core curriculums in order to improve educational consistency.
“This is a storm we’re all going to have to weather when the state brings in the core curriculums. A state standards change is coming regardless of what you do today.”
Pope said the College Board, which developed SpringBoard is the nonprofit that conducts the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. It is also a major contributor to the core curriculum.
Chessel welcomed the decision.
“We can move forward now that we have a decision,” she said. “It would have been scary if we’d have had to change curriculums in the middle of the year.”
The meeting was video confererenced in Carson City where the Douglas High School English Department co-chairwoman Karen Heine, Carson Valley Middle School English teacher Liz Leiknes and English teacher Shaun Novich watched. All three teachers were attending the meeting on their own time.
“We’re going to teach the book,” Heine said after the decision. “I hope I can. I don’t think those people are aware of what they voted for. The photo essay is all photographs. It talks about camera angles and lighting and grammar in graphic organization. The workbooks have the students draw pictures about the poetry they’ve read.”
Heine told members of the state school board that opposition to the curriculum ran 10-3 at the high school.
“I don’t believe it has the rigor we require,” Heine said. “It doesn’t require students to perform.”