383 USD await more comments on cultural training | New


Manhattan-Ogden Superintendent Marvin Wade said he anticipates many public comments regarding cultural teacher training at the $ 383 school board meeting on Wednesday.

Wade said he was “looking forward” to more feedback from people with ideas about the recently withdrawn purchase of culturally appropriate teaching and learning seminars for educators at consultancy BetterLesson. .

“This is an issue that people in our community care deeply about, and we respect their opinions and appreciate hearing them,” said Wade.

The Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice emailed Friday inviting people to attend the board meeting to show their support for the trainings, and for speakers to testify on why the training tools are beneficial for teachers and students.

At the May 19 board meeting, nine people spoke out against adopting the training sessions, saying BetterLesson’s programs promote a concept called Critical Race Theory, which explores how systemic racism is. integrated into US laws and how non-whites are affected by those laws. The main concern of these people was that the seminars would teach teachers to “brainwash” students.

Carl Treece, a candidate for the upcoming $ 383 board election, was one of the speakers at the May 19 meeting. He told The Mercury that he didn’t agree with the BetterLesson trainings, and said he thought people could “agree but disagree”.

Council voted to adopt the educator training sessions at their April 21 meeting, but district administrators subsequently withdrew the purchase of $ 61,500 at the May 5 council meeting. The board voted 4-1 to pass the training sessions with dissident Darell Edie and Jurdene Coleman and Brandy Santos.

Wade said district officials planned to use money from a certain account to pay for BetterLesson seminars, but district affairs office accountants told administrators that the purchase would “not be an appropriate use.” Of that money. The state allows school districts to designate certain funds related to programs and services for at-risk students who are not at grade level in reading or math, often absent from school and homeless or migrating.

“It meant we had to step back and not do it,” Wade said. “There are just certain circumstances where this money is not quite what we want to use it for.”

Wade said public opinion had nothing to do with their decision to withdraw the purchase of BetterLesson, but it drew attention to the need for district officials to better explain and understand “everything we do. let’s present ”to the board.

“It’s about asking, ‘Do we need this, and if we need it, tell us why we need it and how it will meet that need,” Wade said.

Wade said training district staff on equity, diversity and inclusion issues is part of their strategic framework, but it is “not sure” when administrators will report something like BetterLesson trainings to the advice. He said the month of June is focused on the district budget and preparing for the 2021-2022 school year.

“The problem hasn’t gone away, and we’ll fix it in the near future, we just don’t know when,” Wade said. “We are open to input from people and we want it.”

In other areas, the board will take into consideration:

  • Approval to add a girls wrestling program to Manhattan High School for the 2021-2022 school year. Kansas girls can wrestle at the middle and high school level, but they must wrestle with boys if there are no other girls in their weight division. Kansas is one of 14 states where girls’ wrestling is sanctioned at the high school level. The Kansas State High School Activities Association proposed a two-year plan to implement girls’ wrestling in high schools, including their own regional and state tournaments. MHS wrestling coaches had a meeting in March to assess the girls’ potential wrestling participation; they had about 20 daughters who were interested. Officials want to hire a coach.
  • Final approval of the appointment of one board member and two trustees to serve on a committee exploring the possibilities of establishing a career academy at Manhattan High East Campus in partnership with Manhattan Area Technical College. During the May 19 meeting, the board appointed Vice President Kristin Brighton to serve on the committee. MATC received a planning grant to develop a proposal for a facility that would be co-managed with the district. Officials have set a goal of opening the academy at the end of 2023.
  • Approval to purchase for $ 25,224 per year a digital application called “Here Comes the Bus” which allows parents to track their child’s school bus from their phone or other device.
  • Approval of i-Ready personalized online math training for elementary school students from Curriculum Associated for $ 268,896.
  • Approval of administrator contract extensions for the 2021-2022 school year. This is a routine approval of a range of administrator contracts across the district recommended by Wade. This does not include Wade, who the board is evaluating separately. New directors are ready for one-year extensions and others for two-year contracts.

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