Frequently Asked Questions about our curriculum

How is the Mehlville School District curriculum determined?

All Mehlville School District curriculum aligns with Missouri Learning Standards.

How can I view the Mehlville School District curriculum?

Detailed information about the curriculum Mehlville School District students are learning can be found on our website. Curriculum can be viewed by course and grade level:

Detailed descriptions of each high school class are available in the Mehlville School District Career and Course Planning Guide.

Critical Race Theory (CRT)

Is critical race theory part of Mehlville School District’s curriculum?

No. All Mehlville School District curriculum aligns with Missouri Learning Standards. These state standards define the knowledge & skills students need in each grade level and course for success in college, post-secondary training and careers. Critical Race Theory is not part of the Missouri Learning Standards and therefore is not part of the Mehlville School District curriculum.

Does Mehlville teach critical race theory? What is critical race theory?

No. Mehlville doesn’t teach critical race theory. Critical race theory is a legal framework that originated in the 1970s as an analytical tool for law school students to examine the impact of historical and present-day racism on the legal system and public policies. Currently, CRT may be primarily used by higher education institutions (colleges and universities) in the study of law, psychology, and sociology. This graduate-level academic theory is not a defined curriculum for K-12 students nor is something outlined in the Missouri Learning Standards.

Is critical race theory the same as educational equity?

No. Various media channels and members of the public sometimes use terms interchangeably when they mean two different things. The terms Critical Race Theory and educational equity are not the same. Unlike CRT, which is a tool primarily used in institutions of higher education, educational equity is a K-12 term referring to federal and state policies and requirements. Specifically, the term is closely associated with “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) legislation that was led by former President George W. Bush and signed into law in 2002. This federal law established clear requirements for school districts to not only disaggregate student achievement data by race but also to close achievement gaps where they exist.

In recent years, the terms equity work or diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have become commonplace in K-12 education as many districts revisit and renew their local efforts to close achievement gaps as required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). When signed into law in 2015, ESSA further advanced equity in U.S. education policy by upholding protections outlined in NCLB, including calling for comprehensive state-developed plans designed to close achievement gaps, improve the quality of instruction, and increase outcomes for all students.

The state's accreditation system, MSIP (the Missouri School Improvement Program), includes provisions to address educational equity in Missouri’s schools. These rules were reviewed by Missouri’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which is a 10-member legislative committee made up of six Republicans and four Democrats from the Missouri House and Senate. Further, the Secretary of State received comments from the public on the proposed rules and the State Board of Education considered the comments prior to final approval.

Is critical race theory in the Missouri Learning Standards?

No. The tenets of CRT are not part of social studies or any other learning standards in Missouri. The state’s social studies standards can be found on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website. All Missouri Learning Standards are approved by the State Board of Education and developed by Missouri educators, parents and other community stakeholders selected by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the State Board of Education, the Commissioner of DESE, the Commissioner of Higher Education and various education associations. (Section 160.514, RSMo.)

I have questions or concerns about the Mehlville School District curriculum. Who should I contact?

We care about every student and want to ensure that they have a positive and successful experience in the Mehlville School District. If you have questions about what your student is learning at school, we encourage you to begin the conversation with your student’s teacher. Below is a flow chart you can follow to inquire about the Mehlville School District curriculum:

  1. Classroom teacher
  2. School principal
  3. Dr. Brian Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Teacher and Learning
 

Panorama surveys

What is Panorama?

Panorama is a software company that partners with educational organizations to support school climate, social emotional learning and family engagement. Panorama develops surveys taken by our staff and students in grades 3 and up once a semester to benchmark social-emotional learning, well-being and sense of belonging.

Why is participation in Panorama surveys important?

We know students do better academically when they feel like they belong in our school communities & when they have the tools to support and manage their emotions. Just like we check in with students on their learning related to math and reading, Panorama helps our staff identify areas where students may need support & areas where we can improve school culture. They provide a playbook of strategies to improve these areas.

What types of questions are asked on Panorama surveys?

Students and staff are asked questions relating to their experiences in our schools on Panorama surveys. Our Panorama surveys do not ask students questions about their or their families political beliefs nor do they include questions about sexuality or religious affiliation. View the full list of questions by grade and domain below.

Grade 3-5 (SEL Supports)  

Grade 3-5 (SEL Skills)  

Grade 6-12 (SEL Supports)  

Grade 6-12 (SEL Skills)  

Grade 6-12 (Equity & Inclusion)  

Who should I contact if I have questions or concerns about Panorama surveys?

If you have questions about Panorama surveys and how they’re used to support student learning, below is a flow chart you can follow to inquire about Panorama surveys:

  1. School counselor
  2. School principal
  3. Mr. Adam Smith, Executive Director of Student Services

 

Library Books

How does the Mehlville School District determine what books are in school libraries?

School librarians consult professional book reviewers including School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Barnes and Noble, Kirkus and VOYA when choosing books for our schoolwide libraries. Many reviewers provide a summary of the book and age-level appropriateness. Librarians purchase books for a wide range of ages to provide a collection that supports every student and their interests. All books are read by librarians before being available to our students.

The selection of library books is tied to several Mehlville Board of Education policies:

  • Policies IIA Instruction Materials: The value and impact of any textbook, library or other instructional material will be judged as a whole, taking into account the purpose of the material rather than individual and isolated expressions or incidents of the work. Multicultural, disability-aware and gender-fair concepts will be criteria for selection of materials.
  • Policy IIAC: School Libraries: Students and educators should have access to resources and services free of constraints from artificial barriers. Learning/teaching and interests of all students and teachers will be accommodated.
  • Policy IIAC-R1 Selection of Materials: Provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical reading and thinking. Place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection appropriate for the users of the library. Provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of the pupils served. Provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical reading and thinking. Place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive collection appropriate for the users of the library.

Books in classroom libraries are selected by the classroom teacher based on student interest and grade-level appropriateness. Books are often purchased by the teacher, passed along from school libraries or received as community donations. Classroom library books are not cataloged and are checked out through the classroom teacher’s system. Every classroom does not have a classroom library.

How can I view what books are available for my student in their school library?

Parents can view the library catalog available at their child’s school on our website. Each entry contains details including grade levels of interest and where book reviews for that entry are available. Parents can request that their child be limited from checking out specific books by reaching out to their child’s principal or librarian.

How can I request a review of a book in my child’s school library?

Any parent or community member can request that Mehlville School District reconsider including a book in a school library by requesting a book review form and returning it to the school principal. The principal then forms a review committee composed of a teacher, the librarian, the patron and a district administrator. The committee reviews the book and makes a recommendation. In the case of an appeal, the final decision is made by the Mehlville Board of Education.

Who should I contact if I have questions or concerns about library books?

If you have questions about books that are located in your child’s school library, below is a flow chart you can follow to inquire about library books:

  1. School librarian
  2. Building principal
  3. Ms. Sadie Lewis, Director of Personalized Learning and Instructional Design

 

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