How will a review of the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 curriculum be conducted? Most of that has yet to be decided, according to Jim Parr, executive director of academic student services for the district.
“We haven’t really established the criteria,” Parr told the Four Corners Free Press in a phone interview.
A committee consisting of concerned community members has been in place for a couple of months and has met twice, Parr said. They have been expressing their views on the current curriculum, he said, but the committee didn’t have the authority to make decisions.
Now, following the decision of the school board to pass a resolution opposing the principles of critical race theory, the committee is to be reorganized and more formally established.
“I may reinvite some of the folks from the first committee,” Parr said, “but also reach a broader audience if possible.”
The committee’s size has yet to be decided. Parr said initially they were thinking of having a group of nine to 10, as smaller committees are generally more effective, but in order to make it more representative of the demographics of the district, there may be 15 or more people.
The committee at this point will simply be looking at the curriculum at the elementary and middle-schools levels, not in the high school, he said.
“We don’t necessarily know we’re changing the curriculum at this time. That would be up to our school board.”
A thorough review of the entire curriculum in the elementary and middle schools – if that is what is indeed undertaken – will take a great amount of time, he said.
The current materials in the K-5 levels have been in use for a full year, following a review and the selection of those materials, which were available for public viewing and were approved by the school board.
This is the first year that the current English language-arts program has been used in the Cortez Middle School. It was approved last May, Parr said.
The ELA curriculum is “huge” compared to some other programs in the middle school, he said.
Curricula are generally reviewed every five or so years.
“Regardless of what happens with the materials we are currently using, I anticipate convening a community curriculum review committee in the future,” he said. “We want to hear the voices and thoughts of the people we are serving.”