BCPS Curriculum Changes: The Facts

– by BCPS Board of Education Chair Julie Henn-
The Board Chair Julie Henn released this statement after parent concerns over curriculum changes in Baltimore County and in Maryland.
Curriculum changes don’t happen overnight. From the announcement of a new law or regulation, a subsequent MSDE change in education standard or even issuance of guidance, the processes necessary to implement a change in BCPS are lengthy and require research, review, approvals, testing, more approvals, professional development, and more.
Some facts about implementing curriculum changes:
Board Policy 6000 Instruction: Curriculum and Instruction
Board Policy 6000 states:
A. New courses of study shall be presented to the Board for its review and approval at regularly scheduled meetings.
B. The Board shall approve all new school system curriculum prior to its implementation.
C. All curriculum must align with federal and state academic standards and requirements, be designed to increase student performance, reflect cultural responsiveness and provide materials for instruction and assessments that reflect the diversity of students and staff and that are geared toward the understanding and appreciation of culture, class, language, ethnicity, ability and other differences that contribute to each student based on measurable objectives.
D. All curriculum should include an appropriate blend of digital and print materials for instruction and assessment where appropriate.
The Board’s review and approval process begins in committee.
The Curriculum Committee of the Board of Education of Baltimore County meets once monthly. The meeting schedule is published to the public BCPS website six months or more in advance and does not change unless there are extenuating circumstances The schedule may be accessed here: https://www.bcps.org/…/committee_meetings_schedule_21-22.
All meetings are live-streamed with public access and recorded and recordings are publicly available on the BoardDocs website by meeting date: https://go.boarddocs.com/mabe/bcps/Board.nsf/Public
Agendas for the Curriculum Committee meetings, as with all committee meetings, are prepared at least one week in advance. Staff often prepare for the meetings multiple weeks in advance. Any new item of non-urgent business to come before the committee requires, on average, a minimum of eight weeks for scheduling and preparation.
Board Policy 6002: Instruction: Selection of Instructional Materials
Board Policy 6002 states:
A. The Superintendent shall establish guidelines for the selection of instructional materials based on standards of quality, criteria, and protocols to ensure that the materials for teaching and learning support the curriculum, meet the diverse needs of students, and adhere to applicable federal and state laws.
B. The Superintendent shall establish guidelines for the evaluation of instructional materials that include the assessment of the appropriateness of measurable outcomes and their link to achievement at all levels.
C. The Superintendent will evaluate the effectiveness of instructional materials prior to any contract renewal or modification requiring the expenditure of public funds and will communicate the results of the evaluation(s) to the Board.
Master Agreement with TABCO
The Board’s Master Agreement with TABCO further limits how curriculum changes are implemented in the school system:
Curriculum Changes
10.10 Educators who are expected to implement new curricula or techniques shall be given an opportunity to participate in
training activities concerning the new curricula at least one grading period prior to the implementation.
10.10.1 Curriculum materials and texts necessary for the implementation of curricula and techniques will be available to the educator at least one grading period prior to the time the educator is expected to implement any curriculum.
10.10.2 All curricula will be piloted prior to implementation. Curricula shall be piloted in sample schools or with populations impacted by such initiatives. Curriculum pilots will be of sufficient length to determine efficacy. Pilot participants shall be afforded opportunities to provide feedback, to discuss strengths and weaknesses, and to suggest modifications prior to implementation.
10.10.3 Educators using both piloted and non-piloted curriculum shall be formally observed and evaluated on performance in those classes in which the non-piloted curriculum is being used.
Educators solely using piloted curriculum shall be formally observed and evaluated using the modified observation and evaluation tool mutually agreed upon by the Board and the Association.
Examples of Curriculm Outlines / Schedules
BCPS Health Education Curriculum Outlines