In the course of a typical school year, a representative committee of DPSD staff (under the direction of the district’s Asst. Superintendent) engages in a review of curricular materials in a specific content area, recommending the adoption of new instructional materials when/where necessary. This year, new materials for English/Language Arts as well as materials to meet Washington’s new Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE) requirement have been selected for consideration and approval by the district’s Board of Directors. Deer Park’s materials adoption process is outlined in Board Policy 2020 and further described in the associated procedure (2020P).
As is detailed in the district’s policy and procedure, the public must be made aware of new materials being considered for adoption and they must be available for public review for a period of at least two weeks prior to being taken to the Board of Directors. All materials being considered in this year’s adoption cycle are now available for public review at the Deer Park School District Office between the hours of 7:30 am and 4:00 pm; available for review are K-12 ELA materials and CSHE materials for grades 6 – 8. Friday, May 20th will be the final day for public review before the materials are taken to the board at their meeting on May 23.
Washington’s new Comprehensive Sexual Health Education law (Senate Bill 5395) was not passed without controversy. Shortly after the governor signed Senate Bill 5395 (SB 5395) in March 2020, opponents of the bill began collecting signatures to place SB 5395 on the ballot as Referendum 90 – a vote to reject this referendum was a vote to repeal Senate Bill 5395. Ultimately, the referendum passed, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction moved forward with the specifics of implementation.
While public schools must comply with the required components of SB 5395, there has been a great deal of misinformation about what the bill actually requires. It’s important to mention that the bill does not take away a local school board’s authority to select instructional materials used to teach required content. Finally, as is written into the bill, school districts must inform parents when CSHE lessons will be taught and provide parents with the opportunity to opt their children out and participate in alternative (non-CSHE) content. For more detailed information about the seven specific instructional requirements of the bill and how DPSD worked through a thoughtful process to select materials, please see the letter below.