Pasco schools superintendent reverses course on elementary social studies textbooks
After getting additional information, Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino has changed direction on the selection of new elementary social studies materials for the district.
Fiorentino now intends to present the district selection committee's initial recommendation of books by TCI to the School Board for adoption.
Last week, she signaled her plans to overrule the committee based on concerns that the TCI title did not adequately connect lessons to Common Core standards, and that some schools might not have the needed technology to accommodate the materials. After receiving more details about the TCI books, she said she feels confident the district can successfully use them.
As a result, Fiorentino has called off a Tuesday meeting she had scheduled for the committee to reconsider its choice. District spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli explained her position in a letter to committee members:
"Your service on the Social Studies Elementary School Adoption Committee has been greatly appreciated. As you know, there were some concerns that were shared with the Superintendent's Staff after they received the Committee's recommendation. Originally, we had planned to reconvene the Committee next week in order to provide additional information relative to the systemic concerns and allow the committee to finalize their selection. However, it has been determined that we need to adhere to our current procedures manual and our past practice in selecting materials. As such, we will not be reconvening the committee. Instead, we will bring the committee's recommendation to the Board (on May 15, 2012) to adopt TCI as our District's elementary Social Studies textbook. Additionally, we have received additional clarification regarding the concerns that were brought to our attention by committee members. In light of this information, we believe the TCI product will meet the needs of our students and teachers, while respecting the committee process.
"Again, thank you for your service to our District and for your time on this important project. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Should you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office."
The district still plans to clarify and improve its textbook selection and purchasing procedures to avoid future similar problems. Issues relating to complaints raised this week about the secondary social studies book selection have not been addressed yet.