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Overreach in Francis Howell

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

In every school district, district leaders maintain a scheduled cycle for reviewing and updating or replacing their curriculum resources. FHSD’s current elementary Math resource, Envision, turns 10 this year, though some of the content may seem even older. (A quick glance at the images below inform just how outdated this material is.) Our district leaders began their two-year adoption process for a new resource (or the possible purchase of the new Envision version) in 2021, and a portion of the 2022-2023 budget was also allocated for the purchase. District administrators, instructional coaches, teachers, and parent volunteers all took part in the process and chose a new option: IReady. But at the May 2023 board meeting, the Board of Education voted 4-3 against it.

The concerning impacts of rejecting IReady:

Francis Howell Forward has grave concerns about the motives of our newer board members and the impact of their decision. We believe this vote demonstrates a troubling default on promises of fiscal responsibility and an equally concerning lack of regard for the experience and expertise of education professionals. Consider the following impacts of our board’s overreach in this situation:

  • Consumables for the outdated materials will cost an additional $180,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

  • Disruption/ delays in the resource update cycle. ELA (reading and writing) resources, scheduled for a process to begin this coming school year, will likely have to wait.

  • Stakeholder trust/participation has been undermined. Educators who went above and beyond, volunteering to pilot two different choices and parent volunteers who were willing to attend meetings where they reviewed and voted on the materials may be reluctant to participate again.

  • The district will now need to pivot in their plans for elementary professional development this school year to provide training during the time that was originally set aside for teachers to become familiar with the new resource.

If you agree that the board has overreached in this instance please email Board President Bertrand to express your concern.


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