WADSWORTH — While the Ohio Department of Education continues to map out state standards in core subjects, Wadsworth Schools is readying for changes in social studies with a plan to purchase new textbooks.
Michele Evans, the district’s director of instruction and professional development, said social studies textbooks were last updated eight and 15 years ago, depending on the specific subjects and courses.
“There have been at least two new updates to the Ohio Learning Standards for Social Studies during this time, which means that the current resources are not aligned to the standards nor to the state tests,” Evans said in an email Tuesday.
According to ODE, the state Board of Education has adopted learning standards in many areas including mathematics, English language arts, science, social studies, world languages, fine arts, technology, physical education and financial literacy. In 2016, the Department of Education started a process of updating all the standards over time.
To give districts time to align instruction and resources, Ohio gave until the 2020-21 school year to fully implement the revised 2018 Ohio’s Learning Standards for Social Studies. State tests aligned to the standards will commence in the 2020-21 school year.
Evans said the new resources will allow district teachers to utilize textbooks more fully rather than supplemental materials.
Textbooks are now on a six-year adoption cycle at Wadsworth Schools, Evans said.
“Mean(ing) that teachers will come together every six years and make decisions about whether the current resources are still appropriate and meet the standards or whether new materials should be adopted and if so, look at materials available and make decisions,” Evans said.
The Social Studies Textbook Adoption Committee presented its most recent recommendations to school board members Monday.
“We had a really, really big committee, fresh faces, people that you have not seen before, so it was a really great committee to work with and lots of interesting discussion,” Evans said during the meeting.
The committee was formed last December and is made up of representatives from all the district’s schools and grade levels to analyze social studies materials from different vendors and eventually make a recommendation to the board.
Lincoln Elementary School Principal Steve Brady said the committee decided on Studies Weekly textbooks for grades K-4.
“There was one better that really kind of checked off all those boxes and seemed to really be able to accommodate all grades in the area of K-4 in the area of social studies,” he said.
Katie Wolf, fourth-grade teacher Valley View Elementary School, said the books feature an engaging text, and address the necessary content.
“Our main purpose was the content, we wanted to make sure that it covered not just the national standards but Ohio Standards,” Wolf said.
Central Intermediate School sixth grade teacher Shannon Schmitt said McGraw Hill textbooks will be recommended for grades 5-8.
Schmitt said the textbooks and electronic components feature interactive maps as a part of each lesson, and economics embedded in each lesson as well.
Economics and financial literacy are relatively new additions to the state standards and offer students a broader look at economic decision making, governmental policy as it relates to a nation’s economy and global events and issues that can influence an economy.
Evans said the digital components of the materials were a big consideration for the committee, especially as the district moves closer to having an electronic device available to each student.
“The electronic components are so interesting and engaging,” Evans said. “I think students are going to love them and it will help them become more interested in the content than ever before.”
Evans said 10 social studies courses are offered at the high school, and McGraw Hill, Pearson, National Geographic and Bedford, Freeman and Worth textbooks will be utilized for the various courses offered.
While $500,000 has been allocated by the district for the purchase of new social studies materials, it is always a goal of the committee to come in under budget, Evans said.
The Social Studies Textbook Adoption Committee will formally ask for the board’s acceptance of its recommendation next month.
Superintendent Andrew Hill said the textbooks can be viewed until April 8 by interested community members 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Charles R. Parsons Administration Building, 524 Broad St., Wadsworth.