Rundle discusses Mercer Island School District curriculum during series

Two segments feature Instructional Materials Committee.

With the school year heading into the final stretch and graduation ceremonies situated just around the corner, several aspects of the Mercer Island School District’s curriculum have entered the spotlight on its website and Facebook page.

School district Deputy Superintendent Dr. Fred Rundle is participating in a question-and-answer series with PTA Council President Amanda Stoffer aimed at sharing education topics of interest with district families and the community, according to the district. Three parts are currently posted with a fourth installation scheduled for this week.

One segment focuses on the notification process to families regarding the adoption of sensitive curriculum and the family opt-out process. Rundle said that if an opt-out occurs, the family might have a conversation with a teacher, coach or principal and a student might participate in an alternative assignment.

“When we do have families that are oppositional to a particular piece, I think that conversation can be quite valuable,” said Rundle, adding that he feels district teachers are doing a good job of being thoughtful and respectful during the learning process.

In a pair of segments that feature the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC), Rundle — who will soon take over the post of superintendent for the next school year — described the group as a collection of community members with an interest in the district. School board-approved members include Mercer Island High School students, district-wide teachers and parents and content specialists, such as a librarian and an English Language Learner coordinator.

One of the IMC’s tasks is perusing instructional materials and noting if they “would reflect the values in our school district, in our community and that these are resources that we’d want to promote teaching and learning in the classrooms,” Rundle said.

The IMC also comes into play during periodic reviews of the adoption of new literacy and math curriculum.

Rundle said that, for example, new math curriculum for elementary students could be adopted because the material has become outdated, “and we’re looking for new materials that may align the standards better or standards may have shifted or changed.”

While district teachers and staffers are in the process of searching for new materials to promote innovative teaching to best meet students’ needs, parents and community members can attend open forum nights to check out the proposed materials, which will then be forwarded to the IMC.

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