Proposed Social Justice Resources to support WCSD English Language Arts

The Washoe County School District will provide teachers and students with a lens into past and current events to help create a deeper understanding of society.
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 11:05 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Textbooks for kindergarten through fifth grade may soon have updated content.

Washoe County School District plans to provide teachers and students with a lens into past and current events to help create a deeper understanding of society. Dr. Kristen Mcneill, Washoe County School District superintendent, said this would expand student’s cultural knowledge. It uses personal experiences and history to analyze text.

“It is really based around concerns, what is happening in our communities, and how can I be a better community member,” said Mcneill.

The district would have to introduce materials in an age-appropriate way. Educators would discuss topics surrounding fairness, race, and inequality to help build cultural competency. Johnny Rosa said he believes this will help kids understand the experiences of other people who may not look like them.

“There is a lot of injustice in the world but if everyone can see that we are one equal I think it would be a lot easier for them to understand talking about that more,” said Rosa.

The curriculum would focus on group awareness, creating diverse environments, and supporting students’ identities. This would make it safe for them to fully be themselves. Textbooks would provide guided questions allowing students to analyze and form opinions about community concerns. Michelle Menees said this will help children have empathy towards others.

“If we add that to the curriculum then we can have that conversation, and when they come home they can then ask questions,” Menees said.

Parents have voiced their disagreements. They have sent emails to our newsroom to let us know this should be taught at home, without the teacher’s biased views and planned agendas. The district leaders said it will provide a space for kids to feel more comfortable.

“Really important to see the overarching scope for the curriculum and exactly what the supplemental material will provide for teachers,” said Mcneill.

These proposed resources and input from the public will be presented to the board of trustees on May 11.

If you have any questions or concerns about this curriculum click here for a link to WCSD’s comment form.

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