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Communication from the Superintendent - June 25, 2021
June 25, 2021
As a follow-up to the conversations occurring in our community, I wanted to provide you with information about what is/is not occurring in the Snohomish School District in regard to Critical Race Theory (CRT), sexual education curriculum and use of masks/face coverings. And more importantly, I want to emphasize that the Snohomish School District is dedicated to each and every student’s education and strives to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Our goal is to ensure that any student who entrusts us with their education earns their diploma while having a safe and positive experience in our schools.
As summer is upon us and we prepare for full-time, in-person school next fall, I look forward to continuing our conversations around the quality of education in Snohomish. Thank you for your time, it is a pleasure to serve as your superintendent.
Critical Race Theory (CRT)
The Snohomish School District does not have a Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculum or class, nor does the state mandate we do so. Snohomish School District strives for equity through the efforts of removing all barriers to learning and by doing so seeks to honor and value the lives of each and every student, staff, and community member regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, neurodiversity, social class or disability.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State Department of Health, the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Snohomish Health District have all noted masks are currently required for all individuals in the school setting (K-12). The district must follow the student health and safety requirements mandated by these entities. This is a state mandate that our neighboring school districts all follow as well.
As we work through the summer, we fully anticipate that guidance from federal, state and local health partners may be changing regarding many of the COVID-19 health and safety aspects. Although we have no advance notice of what those changes may be, we will adapt accordingly and throughout the summer district teams will work to prepare our schools, classrooms and spaces to accommodate full, in-person enrollment. We will communicate any changes as soon as we are made aware.
Sexual education curriculum
Our district offers human growth and development curriculum to students in 5th through 9th grades. Our adopted curriculum used in the classroom, which is available at www.sno.wednet.edu/healtheducation, went through our public review process which includes community meetings and input. In addition, each time the curriculum is taught we are required to have community meetings so families have the information before instruction so they can decide whether to opt their child out of the lessons.
Senate Bill 5395, passed by the Legislature and the voters in 2020, took effect on December 3, 2020. It requires all Washington public schools to provide comprehensive sexual health education instruction that is medically and scientifically accurate, evidence-informed, age-appropriate, aligned with health and learning standards, and inclusive of all students regardless of their protected class status. The bill defines comprehensive sexual health education as recurring instruction in human development and reproduction that is age-appropriate and inclusive of all students. The bill maintains the right for parents/guardians to opt their children out of sexual health education instruction at any time. According to the requirements of Senate Bill 5395:
Beginning in the 2021−22 school year
- Schools must begin providing comprehensive sexual health education at least twice between grades 6−8 and at least twice between grades 9−12. For example, to meet the requirements for grades 6–8, schools may choose to provide instruction once in grade 6 and once in grade 8. The instruction must also include age-appropriate information about affirmative consent and bystander training.
- Schools must inform the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) of any curricula used to provide comprehensive sexual health education and describe how their instruction aligns with the requirements of the bill.
- The Snohomish School District adopted curriculum used in our 6th through 9th grade classrooms is available at www.sno.wednet.edu/healtheducation. Opt out is available for anyone who does not want to participate.
Beginning in the 2022−23 school year
- Schools must provide social emotional learning (SEL) to students in grades K−3. There is no sexual health content required for students in grades K–3.
- Schools must begin providing comprehensive sexual health education at least once between grades 4−5. Instruction on human growth and development (puberty) generally begins in 5th grade.
- The Snohomish School District adopted human growth and development curriculum used in our 5th grade classrooms is available at www.sno.wednet.edu/healtheducation. We do not provide any sexual health content for students in grades K-4. Opt out is available for anyone who does not want to participate.