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CKSD: New textbooks simply aren’t enough

As the learning standards in Washington state continue their evolution, new textbooks sit atop the list of must-haves for school districts across the state including the Central Kitsap School District (CKSD). However, as the CKSD Board of Directors heard at Wednesday night’s board meeting, shiny, unmarred books don’t necessarily translate into increased student achievement by themselves.

“What we’ve found is that if you don’t have the professional development to go with the new texts, the transition will not go well,” CKSD Superintendent Greg Lynch told the board, echoing earlier remarks by CKSD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dan Dizon, who had the interim tag removed from his title Wednesday.

It takes at least one year after a new text is adopted for staff to develop the best way to utilize the instructional material in the classroom, Lynch said. “If you see you are going to adopt new texts at the same time, we’ve got a problem,” he said.

That issue would seem to have more of an impact on the elementary school level than the junior high or high school level, Board President Bruce Richards said.

Lynch agreed, saying the secondary school level is much more department-specific than the elementary school level, so teachers aren’t facing quite the same challenges.

Currently, the district is in the midst of its 10-year curriculum adoption cycle and as the statewide standards are adjusted, the district will go back and review that cycle to maintain its compliance with those standards, Dizon said.

Even with the ongoing budget crisis, the district should be able to maintain its adjusted adoption cycle, but the new instructional materials must be aligned to grade level expectations and must also provide adequate support for struggling learners, he said.

Yet along with the new textbooks, Professional development is a key component,” Dizon said.

With expected cuts to I-728 funds, which provide money to implement education reforms and improve student learning, Lynch said it is important for the board to keep in mind the importance of professional development along with textbooks as it makes its budget decisions for the coming year.

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