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Decatur School Board to discuss decolonizing curriculum

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Decatur School Board to discuss decolonizing curriculum

The City Schools of Decatur School Board listens to online public comment during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. The meeting was held both in person and virtually through Zoom. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. for a work session. The meeting will be held in person at the Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Ave., and via Zoom.

To access the meeting, follow these instructions:

To view the meeting agenda, click here.

To join the Zoom meeting, click here.

To join by phone, dial +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592. The webinar ID is 979 2323 30.

Work sessions are open to the public. The school board, however, does not accept public comment during work sessions.

During the work session, the school board will discuss decolonizing the curriculum.

“Members of the Equity and Student Services Department, the Teaching and Learning Department, and alumni, Koan Roy-Meighoo and Julian Fortuna, will present the depth and breadth of the past, current and future work to decolonize the curriculum in City Schools of Decatur,” the agenda packet states.

The agenda packet did not provide additional documentation on the district’s effort to decolonize the curriculum.

CSD is working to decolonize its curriculum through various initiatives such as the equity in education task force, the social studies task force and the equity in assessments task force.

“A curriculum that misrepresents history or does not introduce opportunities for students to engage positively in their own learning is a disservice to students,” CSD Equity Director Mari Ann Banks previously said. “However unintended the consequences of such a curriculum, maybe disengagement, lack of connection, low self-esteem.”

The equity in education and assessments task forces were recruiting members in September 2021. The social studies task force, which is a subcommittee of the equity in education task force, has collected and analyzed data district-wide.

The final decolonizing initiative is JADE, a proposal for a single course on anti-racism and social justice that would be taken by every CSD student before graduation. The district invited students to provide feedback on the proposal last year.

Fortuna and Roy-Meighoo expanded the proposal to a three-course curriculum that they would like to see throughout the entirety of middle school. The JADE proposal was in the planning stages in 2021 and a pilot program was being created.

The school board will also review the district’s equity policy and controversial topics policy, discuss legislative priorities, and go over the cost of healthcare for board members.

In other business, the school board will begin discussing the budget calendar and priorities for the fiscal year 2024 budget.

“Some of the budget priorities to consider for fiscal year 2024 include the millage rate, step increases/cost of living adjustments, competitive compensation, and strategic initiatives,” the agenda packet states.

The school board will hear a budget primer presentation in January 2023 and see a draft of the preliminary budget in March 2023.

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