Update from the Superintendent - September 14, 2023

Given that there has been increased interest both nationally and locally in the ways to which schools select books and materials for student learning, I felt it may be helpful in sharing information related to Policy IJJ Selection of Educational Materials, its philosophy, and its intent. 
Gone are the days when school districts prescribed every aspect of the curriculum from the top down. With the dawn of the Information Age and its unlimited access to learning materials in real-time, Maine entered the standards-based era in 1997 with the adoption of the Maine Learning Results. The Learning Results are a progression of standards developed for each grade level and content area, with an expectation that teachers and schools align the local curriculum with these standards. The intent of these learning progressions is to shift away from telling students what to learn with more emphasis on how to learn, unlearn, discern, and think critically, essential skills for the 21st Century.
Learning standards allow students multiple ways to demonstrate their learning, affording educators greater autonomy and responsibility for selecting educational books and materials than in the past. A generation ago, as an example, school curriculum guides would list a finite set of book titles that teachers must use in the classroom. Today, within the context of a standards-based system, this approach would be limiting and even detrimental to student learning. 
Policy IJJ states "The Board seeks to provide a wide range of educational materials at all levels of difficulty, with diverse appeal and representing various points of view.” With respect to our schools' library/media centers specifically, books are supplemental to the educational program and provide students with many options for selecting relevant reading material. All three school libraries have online search capability available, and parents are encouraged to talk with their child about their book selections as a starting place.
There will never be full agreement as to all of the books and materials available in our schools. With this in mind, schools nonetheless have an obligation to fulfill the intent of Policy IJJ by recognizing that all of our students are individuals with a unique and broad range of interests and learning needs.
To learn more: Unpacking Policy IJJ