HPISD Trustees Consider New Science Instructional Materials

The HPISD Board of Trustees reviewed the district’s recommended new science instructional materials, which are needed to ensure it meets updated state standards, during an April 2 work session.

Teachers have praised the materials for their assessment opportunities, real-world applications, clear blueprint for instruction, and student texts. The board is slated to consider whether to adopt the materials for use in the 2024-25 school year at its April 16 meeting. 

The district started the process of adopting new instructional materials for science, technology application, and personal and financial literacy and economics courses last fall. It met with a committee of community members in November to determine what to prioritize while considering different resources, assistant superintendent for education services Jennifer Collins told the board.

A committee of teachers, administrators and other district staff provided feedback on potential materials, and teachers had additional opportunities to give input at their learning conference. The community was invited to view several instructional options and leave comments in February and March.

The district recommended adoption of the Experience Science curriculum from publisher Savvas for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Experience Science has been approved for grades kindergarten through 12 by the Texas State Board of Education, director of talented and gifted services and curriculum specialist Ericca Vandagriff told the board.

“One thing we really liked about Savvas was that it was so hands-on driven,” Vandagriff said. “It started with a hands-on activity, and then everything was really based off of that hands-on activity.”

The district recommended Experience Science publications for biology, chemistry, physics and earth science courses for students in grades nine through 12.  

The district also made recommendations for high school elective, honors and AP science courses, organic chemistry, biotechnology, middle school technology electives, computer science, and applied engineering.

Board member Ellen Lee questioned whether one textbook under consideration for use in advanced courses, Campbell Biology, included content that might be inappropriate for students under the age of 18. 

Board President Maryjane Bonfield said she wanted to ensure that the board did not approve any textbooks with bias. “I do think that would violate our criteria for choosing instructional resources,” she said. “I would want to make sure I can’t tell what the author thinks about a controversial issue from a textbook.”

Collins said staff would work to answer the board’s questions about the materials and to ensure members have the information they need to make a decision.

The resources are estimated to cost a total of just under $1.6 million, Collins said, but the district has not negotiated with any vendors yet and that total could decrease. She told the board that the Savvas materials, which accounted for the bulk of the expense, were comparable in cost to those from other vendors.

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.