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Task force formed to consider social justice curriculum for Washoe County students

By Jeri Chadwell

Members have been selected for the Washoe County School District (WCSD) superintendent’s task force to consider supplementary social justice curriculum.

The task force was created under the direction of the WCSD Board of Trustees following a June 8 meeting. Its creation was the result of community backlash to proposed social justice resources to be added to English Language Arts curriculum for students in kindergarten through fifth grades.

The resources were created by Advanced Benchmark, a for-profit education company that already provides some of the district’s education materials.

The board had announced a step back from those resources prior to the June 8 meeting, and the task force has been directed not to consider “divisive or political materials proposed by Benchmark.”

The motion passed by the board directed McNeill to “move forward with a measured approach to providing supplementary curriculum based on the Nevada Academic Content Standards (NVACS) and involving stakeholders through the establishment of a Superintendent’s Task Force … to be brought back to the Board of Trustees with an update on progress at a future meeting.”

The task force will not be subject to open meeting law, but the agendas and minutes from its meetings will be posted publicly for interested parties to review. The task force will meet monthly, and updates on its work will be provided to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis, according to a district spokesperson.

Applications for the task force were accepted for more than a month, from late July to late August.

The District received applications from 145 parents/guardians and 41 community members for the 18-member task force.

A committee was convened to review each application using a blind review and rubric-based process. The committee consisted of one parent/guardian (not a District employee), one community member, one teacher and one representative from the district’s Office of Accountability.

Selected applicants were contacted in early September and include:

  • Mari Callahan, Parent/Guardian Representative, Trustee District A
  • Allison Anderson, Parent/Guardian Representative, Trustee District B
  • Alysia Goyer, Parent/Guardian Representative, Trustee District C
  • Ashley Ireland, Parent/Guardian Representative, Trustee District D
  • Stacey Hine, Parent/Guardian Representative, Trustee District E
  • Megan Cargile, Community Member
  • Debi Stears, Community Member
  • Lisa Brunelle, Community Member
  • Amanda Aragon, Community Member
  • Daniel Kirk, Principal Representative
  • Dina Ciaramella, Curriculum & Instruction Representative
  • LaNesha Battle, Equity & Diversity Department Representative
  • Rachel Fisher, Elementary School Teacher Representative
  • Keyana Bunting, Elementary School Teacher Representative
  • James Coleman, Middle School Teacher Representative
  • Danielle Stallworth-Luna, High School Teacher Representative
  • Mia Albright, Student Representative
  • Victoria Gomez, Student Representative

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