Minneapolis Public Schools is asking the public to weigh in on one of Superintendent Ed Graff's district priorities: finalizing a new literacy curriculum for Pre-K through fifth grade.
The district last adopted a literacy curriculum in 2008 and "there have been significant shifts in content standards" since then, according to a district release Thursday. School officials are seeking community feedback on the possible vendors they have chosen in a community curriculum fair on Saturday and Monday.
Graff championed the adoption of a new literacy curriculum in his review of his first 100 days in the district in October.
He said in a media briefing last month that literacy is important in conversations around district achievement. It's also critical that students grasp vocabulary early in their education, he said.
"Literacy, especially in the Pre-K through fifth grade, emphasizes a strong foundation," he said. "You have to have that foundation in order to see those results."
In 2015, Minneapolis schools had a contract for a literacy curriculum for younger readers, but the school board canceled it after some teachers and parents were outraged by cultural and racial stereotypes in the books. It included a story about a black girl called "Lazy Lucy."
These books were reportedly returned before being given to students. Former interim Superintendent Michael Goar said he and his team erred in a number of ways, including failing to follow policies in buying the books.
The district said in its release that it is searching for "a culturally relevant and responsive curriculum."
In the spring, vendor finalists will try out materials at some Pre-K through eighth-grade schools, when the public can share their thoughts at open houses, according to the release. The school district will pick and recommend a vendor to the school board by the end of the school year. After school board approval, the curriculum would be rolled out for the 2017-2018 school year.
The Minneapolis Public Schools community curriculum fair is Saturday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon and Monday, Dec. 12 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mona Moede Early Childhood Center (Door 14), Room A207, 2410 Girard Ave. N. in Minneapolis.