Dufferin-Peel board to set book guidelines

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  • November 19, 2009
{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Trustees at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board will review a proposal Nov. 24 that would have all novels pre-approved for use in the classroom by a central committee.

“We conceptualized the need for such a proposal in the last couple of years and have been doing a lot of work for what makes sense for our system and how we develop a proposal that’s going to honour the professionalism and the local decision making that we want our teachers and administrators to continue to do,” said superintendent of program Marianne Mazzorato.

Mazzorato said the proposed guidelines were in the works before a parent challenged the use of To Kill a Mockingbird at St. Edmund Campion Secondary this past summer. The new guidelines would not prevent parents or school staff from challenging the use of newly approved books, as the challenged materials policy will remain the same.

This new proposal, if passed, would start a review of all current literature used in English classes and would also allow teachers to propose the use of other relevant works on an annual basis, which if approved, would be added to a centralized list.

“It would ensure that the resources we’re bringing forward to use in our classrooms are intentionally chosen in a way that they are going to engage students, address our current curriculum expectations, that they’re current, they’re reliable and well written, that they help develop critical literacy in our students that enable them to see the text in a broad way, that our teachers are also equipped with teaching resources that uphold the major tenets of Catholic teaching and support the Catholic graduate outcomes in the curriculum expectations,” she explained.

For books not previously used in the curriculum, a writing team made up of board staff including teachers, department heads and representatives of the equity and diversity office, would help in creating the lesson plans to accompany them.

The criteria would also be used to update the teaching resources for “celebrated classic novels.”

“We would make more current and relevant the kind of questions, activities and tasks that are follow ups to what those kids are reading,” Mazzorato.

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