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3015 - SELECTION AND RECONSIDERATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES

3015.1 Responsibility for Selecting Instructional Resources

In accordance with GS 115C-98(b), the Durham Public Schools Board of Education delegates the responsibility for coordinating the selection of instructional resources and recommendation for purchase to the professional personnel in the administrative unit. Media coordinators, teachers and other school system employees responsible for selecting instructional resources should do so with the aim of implementing, enriching, supporting and aligning with the school system's educational program. Instructional resources may include, but are not limited to: textbooks, books, supplementary reading and information resources, periodicals, newspapers, charts, programs, online and electronic resources and subscription databases, e-books, computer software, kits, games, transparencies, pictures, posters, art prints, study prints, sculptures, models, maps, globes, motion pictures, realia, audio and video recordings, DVDs, software, streaming media, multimedia, dramatic productions, performances, concerts, written and performed music, bibliographies and lists of references issued by professional personnel, speakers (human resources) and all other instructional resources needed for educational purposes.

 

The following objectives should be considered:

  1. To provide resources to enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities, and maturity levels of the pupils served.
  2. To provide resources to stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards.
  3. To provide a background of information to enable students to make intelligent judgments and to sharpen their critical evaluation skills.
  4. To provide resources representing various points of view so that young citizens may develop critical analysis skills.
  5. To provide resources in various formats that support different learning styles
  6. To provide resources that is representative of the many religious, ethnic and cultural groups and their contributions to our American heritage.
  7. To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of resources of the highest quality.

 

3015.2 Criteria for Selection of Instructional Resources

Individual teaching and learning styles, the curriculum, and the existing collections are given consideration in determining the needs for resources in individual schools.

 

After a careful needs assessment, resources considered for purchase and/or use are judged on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Purpose: Overall purpose and its direct relationship to instructional objectives/curriculum
  2. Reliability: Accurate, authentic, up-to-date, authoritative treatment: Clear, skillful, well-organized, unbiased, comprehensive, well-balanced
  3. Technical quality: Relevant to content, sound and visuals consistent with state-of-the-art capabilities
  4. Format: Well-organized, attractive, appropriate
  5. Construction: Durable, manageable
  6. Possible Uses: Individual, small group, large group, introduction, in-depth study, remediation, acceleration, enrichment

 

3015.3 Media and Technology Advisory Committee

Each principal shall form a school Media and Technology Advisory Committee (MTAC). This committee shall consist of teachers, media coordinator(s), technology facilitator(s), other professionals, students (in middle and high schools) and parent representatives. A primary function of the Media and Technology Advisory Committee is to determine needs and to assist the principal, media coordinator, technology facilitator and other professional personnel in the building in making selection decisions for resources to be placed in the school media center, as well as for the total educational environment. The Media and Technology Advisory Committee will also assist the media coordinator in addressing, at the school level, any challenge to an educational resource.
Decisions for purchase rest with the professional personnel in the building. Final approval for all purchases must be made by the school principal.

 

3015.4 Procedures for Selecting and Maintaining Instructional Resources Collections

In coordinating the selection of resources, media coordinators, technology facilitators and other professionals, assisted by the Media and Technology Advisory Committee, should:

  1. Evaluate the existing collection(s);
  2. Assess curricular needs;
  3. Consult reputable, unbiased selection tools prepared by professional educators and arrange, when possible, for firsthand examination of resources to be purchased;
  4. Evaluate gift items and classroom collection purchases by standard selection criteria;
  5. Advise the principal on recommended purchases of new instructional resources that meet the objectives listed in Section I and criteria listed in Section II of this policy;
  6. Provide, upon request, lists of supplementary resources to be used in classrooms; and
  7. Regularly weed and purchase replacements as needed for worn, outdated, damaged or missing resources.

 

3015.5 Challenged Resources

Occasionally, objections to some resources may be voiced despite the care taken in the selection process and despite the qualifications of persons selecting the resources. North Carolina state law provides that a challenge may be brought based “on the grounds that [the materials] are educationally unsuitable, pervasively vulgar or inappropriate to the age, maturity, or grade level of the students” GS 115C-98(b1). Parents/guardians may bring complaints about instructional resources to the school principal. Such complaints should be evaluated in light of the Board's support of principles of intellectual freedom inherent in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and as expressed in the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association and the Students' Right to Read of the National Council of Teachers of English.

  1. If the parent/guardian seeks to excuse only his/her child from use of a resource, a decision shall be made by the media coordinator/teacher and principal based on the concerns of the parent/guardian, the availability of curriculum alternatives and the degree to which the requested change would significantly disrupt the educational program or unreasonably burden instructional staff. The decision may be appealed to the Superintendent or designee
  2. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally between the parent/guardian, the principal, and the media coordinator or teacher, or if the parent/guardian seeks to remove the challenged resource from school use, the following formal steps will be taken.
    1. The principal will acknowledge the complaint directly in writing and provide the complainant with a copy of this policy and the "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Resources" form.
    2. To initiate a formal complaint, the parent/guardian must return the completed "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Resources" to the principal within 15 school days of receiving the form.
    3. Upon receiving a completed "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Resources" form, the principal shall inform the school Media and Technology Advisory Committee and the Superintendent or designee that a formal complaint has been received.
    4. The principal shall then convene the building-level Media and Technology Advisory Committee which will take the following steps after receiving the notice of a challenge:

(1) Read, view, or listen to the resource and the objection in

(2) Survey reviews of the resource in professional reviewing sources

(3) Record and consider any statement or explanation requested of the complainant

(4) Determine the extent to which the resource supports the curriculum

(5) Weigh the merits against the alleged weaknesses, considering the whole resource instead of isolated passages

(6) Discuss the resource and provide a statement of the Committees’ findings and decision in writing

(7) Send copies of the report to the principal, and the Superintendent or designee.

    1. The principal will notify the parent/guardian in writing of the Media and Technology Advisory Committee’s decision. The decision of the school-based committee shall apply only to the school from which the complaint arose.
    2. The principal shall keep the challenged resource in use during the entire review period and no resource shall be withdrawn or made unavailable to students whose parents/guardians do not object as a result of any such request unless:

(1) The Superintendent or designee makes a preliminary determination that the resource is obscene as defined by the United States Supreme Court or clearly inappropriate given the age, grade level and maturity of the student audience; or
(2) The principal and/or Superintendent determine(s) that the resource is likely to cause serious disruption of the educational process and alternative means of avoiding disruption would not be effective.

    1. If the parent/guardian is not satisfied with the committee’s decision, he/she may file a “Request for Review of Building-Level Recommendation” within 15 school days of receiving notification by the principal of the committee’s decision. At this time the Superintendent or designee, in accordance with GS 115C-98(b1), shall form an ad hoc District Media and Technology Advisory Committee to investigate and review the complaint.
    2. The District Media and Technology Advisory Committee will take the following steps after receiving the notice of a challenge:

(1) Read, view, or listen to the resource and the objection in their entireties,
(2) Survey reviews of the resource in professional reviewing sources
(3) Record and consider any statement or explanation requested of the complainant
(4) Determine the extent to which the resource supports the curriculum
(5) Weigh the merits against the alleged weaknesses, considering the whole resource instead of isolated passages
(6) Discuss the resource and provide a statement of the Committees’ findings and decision in writing
(7) Send copies of the report to the principal, and the Superintendent or designee

    1. The Superintendent or designee will notify the parent/guardian in writing of the District Media and Technology Advisory Committee's decision.

 

3015.6 Appeal to Board of Education

  1. If the parent/guardian is not satisfied with the district committee's decision, he/she may appeal in writing to the Board of Education through the Office of the Superintendent within 15 school days of receiving notification of the decision.
  2. Upon receiving such an appeal, the Superintendent will notify the Board of Education Chairman who will form a committee of the Board to review the challenged resource and the recommendation of the District Media and Technology Advisory Committee. The Board will determine whether to continue using the challenged resource based upon the considerations outlined in this policy, the statement of findings by the District Media and Technology Advisory Committee and other legitimate educational factors.

 

Attachments

Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Resources

 

Legal Reference: GS 115C-98(b)
Adopted Effective: October 28, 1992 
Revised: March 10, 1993 
Revised Effective: July 1, 1999
Revised Effective: March 24, 2011