Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: IG-R

Curriculum Development, Adoption, and Review

The curriculum is divided into four areas: content standards, content/skills, instruction, and assessments.

Each content area has a designated time period for a curriculum study by a K-12 curriculum study committee. All curriculum studies provide for K-12 alignment and ensure that communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking (4 C’s) are embedded in the curriculum. State, District, and national standards guide the curriculum development process. Standards clarify what students are expected to know and are able to do at various points in their K-12 academic career. The South Dakota Content Standards articulate an essential core of knowledge and skills in all content areas that are to be taught in the K-12 curriculum. The District academic core curriculum (language arts, science, social studies, and math) includes all of the state standards.

Prior to a curriculum adoption, samples of instructional materials are available for review at all levels. At the conclusion of a curriculum study, teachers are provided with the approved District guide outlining essential standards, content, and skills to be learned and assessed. A pacing guide accompanies each District guide to give teachers an overall time framework when standards should be taught.

Curriculum Review Process

The K-12 Steering Committee, appointed by the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development, includes at least three teachers and one administrator from each instructional level, teachers and administrators from Special Services, English Language Learner (ELL) teachers, school support personnel, parents/guardians, and community members. The Assistant Superintendent serves as chair.

The K-12 Steering Committee:

  1. Reviews state and district standards, national standards and trends, assessment data, research and best-practice methodology.
  2. Writes program mission, vision, and goals.
  3. Identifies grade level/course standards and essential content and skills.
  4. Aligns grade level/course standards and essential content and skills with the Smarter Balanced and the 4 C’s.
  5. Align curriculum standards and essential content and skills across the K-12 spectrum.

Instructional level subcommittees, appointed by the curriculum coordinators/supervisors, are formed for the elementary, middle school and high school levels. The instructional level subcommittees include teachers and administrators from each grade level or department, teachers from adjacent instructional levels, teachers and administrators from Special Services, ELL teachers, school support personnel, parents, and community members. The appropriate curriculum coordinator serves as chair.

Each instructional level subcommittee:

  1. Reviews K-12 Steering Committee reports and documents.
  2. Completes the District curriculum guide (standards, essentials skills and content, key vocabulary terms, assessment tools, significant tasks embedding the 4 C’s, pacing/essentials guide by quarter, and resources).
  3. Reviews and selects instructional materials including textbooks, software, supplemental materials, and community resource presentations.
  4. Works with the District technology department to ensure instructional resources and desired software are compatible with the District hardware and network capabilities.

Each committee shall work independently in a climate free of undue influence from special interest groups and publishers of educational materials.

Committee members are selected based on their level of expert content knowledge, their knowledge of effective instruction, their ability to problem solve, their knowledge of child development, and their level of commitment to fulfilling the responsibilities of the committee. Members of the Curriculum Services Department will be responsible for maintaining sign-in sheets and an attendance log of each committee member and a record of those committee members who cast a vote in determining recommendations. In the event a committee member is unable to regularly attend the committee meetings, the member shall be replaced.

Instructional Materials

The instructional level subcommittee shall use the revised curriculum as the foundation for the materials review to ensure that:

  1. Material content is consistent with curriculum standards and align to the essential content and skills and shall be accurate, topical, and up-to-date. The authors shall be qualified and the producers, artists, composers, and publishers reputable.
  2. Materials are free from bias and content that depicts either men or women or any economic, racial, cultural, religious, or ethnic segment of the population as more or less worthy, more or less capable, or more or less important than any other.
  3. Format, subject matter, vocabulary, and approach are suitable for the experience and maturity of the audience and for the intended use of the material.
  4. Presentation of material is well organized, logical, and understandable. Illustrations, charts, and graphs shall be used to present data where needed. The index, footnotes, glossary, and references shall be adequate.
  5. Evaluation reports provide evidence of the effectiveness of the instructional materials being considered. Professional reviews shall support the use of the materials.
  6. Materials are durable, cost-effective, and appealing.

Instructional materials proposed for adoption shall be available for examination by the public at least one week prior to the presentation to the Board.

The outcomes of the curriculum study, including the curriculum mission, vision and goals, essential content standards and skills, and proposed instructional materials and resources are presented to the Curriculum Council prior to being submitted to the Superintendent. The Superintendent presents the recommendations of the study to the Board for final action.

The Sioux Falls School District Comprehensive Student Assessment and Evaluation Plan is designed to serve several ongoing purposes. These purposes are:

  • To evaluate and assure equality of educational programming.
  • To establish educational accountability.
  • To inform instruction.
  • To monitor curriculum implementation.
  • To assess academic achievement at the individual, classroom, building, and District levels.

Staff Development
The adoption of new curriculum standards, contents, and skills necessitates staff development in ensure effective implementation of the revised curriculum. Readiness for implementation requires:

  • Curriculum guides will be completed by July 1 of the implementation year.
  • Training on new curriculum will begin the semester prior to the implementation year.
  • Published materials and technology resources will be ordered and delivered to the District no later than July 1 of the implementation year, subject to the availability of materials, resources and funding.

Curriculum Council
The Curriculum Council is a standing committee comprised of a minimum of two teachers and an administrator from each organizational level (elementary, middle school, high school); one counselor; one special education teacher; one ELL teacher, six parents/guardians; and three community members. The Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development serves as voting chair of the Council. All curriculum coordinators and supervisors serve as non-voting ex-officio members. Each member shall serve a two-year renewable term commencing on July 1. The Curriculum Council conducts meetings on a quarterly basis, or as needed.

Role and Function of the Council
The Council shall function in accordance with District regulations. Primary functions of the Council are:

  • Oversee K-12 curriculum alignment
  • Monitor student achievement results
  • Review the District Improvement Plan
  • Review current trends/issues in curriculum
  • Process requests for reconsideration of instructional materials
  • Process proposals for curriculum change

Procedures for Recommending Changes in the Curriculum
Any resident of the School District or employee within the school system can submit a proposal for curriculum change.

All proposals for curriculum change are processed in the following manner:

  • All proposals having District-wide impact on the curriculum are submitted to the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development who will determine appropriate routing for initial review. The Council acts upon all proposals submitted by the Assistant Superintendent.
  • All proposals impacting an individual school are submitted to the principal for review. In the secondary schools, the proposal must also be reviewed by the appropriate department. The Council acts upon all proposals submitted by the principal.
  • All proposals must be presented one semester prior to the requested time for implementation except for those proposals on which the superintendent requests more immediate consideration.
  • All recommendations of the Council are submitted to the superintendent for consideration.
  • A written response from the Council with respect to the action taken is made to the individual or group submitting the proposal.

The District’s schedule for reviewing curriculum and instructional materials by subject area is based on the South Dakota Standards Revision and Adoption Timeline utilized by the State Board of Education.


Legal References:

13-3-48 Academic Content Standards

Related Policies/Regulations:

GBD - Staff Development


Regulation   Board Action (formerly 6141.5)
Approved 09-09-85 22350  
Revised 06-10-91 26206  
Revised 11-12-96 28653  
Revised 04-10-06 34394  
Revised 05-09-11 36050  
Revised 03-12-12 36313  
Revised 10-12-15 37306  
Revised 04-13-20 38569
Revised 05-24-21 38883