Schools look for public input on textbooks

Shenandoah County Public Schools is looking for community input on social studies materials that will replace 14-year-old textbooks.

Susan Smith, textbook coordinator for Shenandoah County Public Schools, said the division has begun the process of adopting materials for secondary social studies courses, which include World History and Geography I, World History and Geography II, United States History, Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics and Contemporary Social Issues.

In the school division’s proposed $64.8 million budget, $207,325 is being asked for to fund textbooks and instructional resources. Superintendent Mark Johnston has noted at budget meetings that the division is currently using social studies textbooks that are 14 years old.

Materials being considered for adoption by the division can be class sets of print books or ebooks, as well as resources in other formats.

Students, parents and community members are asked to participate in the selection of these materials. Samples are listed on the division’s website www.shenandoah.k12.va.us, under News tab and are also available at the Textbook Center behind Triplett Tech and at the high schools.

Those interested in helping with the process can contact Smith or the assistant principal at the high schools. Smith added that the division asks for input for every adoption of learning materials.

As suggested by the Virginia Department of Education, the division’s adoption committee will evaluate the textbooks and other materials using the selection criteria on the VDOE’s website at http://tiny.cc/1l9cjy.

Smith said that the committee consists of 20 educators in the division, including all of the secondary social studies teachers, Director of Elementary Education Chadwick Hensley, Director of Middle and Secondary Education David Hinegardner and Smith.

She added, “For this social studies adoption, there is no state-approved list as there has been in the past. The VDOE did not set up a committee to review books, which is basically a correlation to the Social Studies Standards of Learning.

“This means that localities must review textbooks for correlation with the Standards of Learning for the particular subject area and for strengths and weaknesses in instructional planning and support,” she said.

Smith added that publishers usually provide this information, but it must be verified by the committee. The publisher should also certify the accuracy of the textbook’s content and sign an agreement to pay for the correcting of all factual and editing errors found in the book.

The purchase of these materials is planned for April 2017, but is dependent upon available funds.

Anyone seeking to comment publicly on the Social Studies materials adoption can do so at the March 9 School Board meeting during non-agenda items. Comments will be forwarded to the materials adoption committee.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com