Cy-Fair ISD parents will have more information about the books and authors children will have access to in 2022-23

Cy-Fair ISD has an updated policy designed to provide transparency to parents about library books and ensuring that students have access to books appropriate to their grade level. The plank unanimously approved the changes at the August 8 board meeting.

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“In this recommended policy, parents will decide whether they want their students to have access not only to the default level, but also possibly to the next level,” Director of Studies Linda Macias said during the working session of the August 4 board meeting. “For example, in middle school, the default level would be the juvenile level, but if parents also wanted their children to have access to the young adult level, they would have to opt for that. They would not only have access to that level.

Part of this policy includes cataloging books in the juvenile, young adult, and adult age categories. This applies to all books of librariesclassrooms and the digital book database.

At the August 8 meeting, parents, teachers, and community members expressed concerns about the timing of this policy, as teachers were originally required to catalog their classroom libraries at the start of the school year on August 22. . While cataloging was in progress, students would only have been able to access properly cataloged books.

CFISD sixth-grade student Veronika Skoda shared her own concerns with the board.

“One of the things that excited me the most was to check out a book from the library as soon as possible, but when I learned that the books would not be available for a while and that some were banned, I been really disappointed,” Skoda said. “The way schools are changing the way we access books is unfair to students, teachers and librarians. There is always a lot of work at the start of the school year, so labeling thousands of books adds more work than it should be. That’s why it would make more sense to wait until later in the year to change the library rules. The fact that only a handful of people who want the books banned changing the way schools read is far from fair. If this district wants to educate children, then let’s read from day one.”

After hearing the concerns, board members weighed the idea of ​​pushing back the rollout date for this protocol to November 15. The administration informed the board that pushing the date back to November 15 would allow teachers to use teachers’ workdays to work on cataloging their books when students are not present. Under this new plan, all books would be available at the checkout from the first day of school.

CFISD Board Chairman Tom Jackson said the book categorization protocols were disclosed to the district by the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education. The district is implementing this protocol to have a state-ready standard, he said, hopefully avoiding a statewide plan that places an additional burden on educators. .

“I think the board has already indicated that our general preference for all sorts of reasons is that we don’t defer it to January 1,” Jackson said. “This is a brand new system to implement. We haven’t done any implementations before, even as a test, which is what this district normally does, so we have no idea how long it will take. it’ll take until we get into that.”

The new policy also makes it easier for parents to challenge materials found in libraries by identifying materials that do not meet policy standards or if the age rating is incorrect.

In addition, parents will be able to authorize or not their child to borrow books from the campus library and prohibit them from borrowing books by certain authors. Parents can also log into their child’s account to see what books their child has borrowed and contact their campus librarian to communicate what they will allow their children to read.

Concerns remain for administrator Julie Hinaman, who said she was worried about the new policy limiting advanced readers to grades four through six. Middle school students have access to juvenile level material and parents can choose to give them access to the young adult level. There was no mention of adult level access.

“I just want to make sure that these regulations reflect an opportunity for students to access books that better match their reading level for kids who are in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades,” Hinaman said.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.


Colin L. Johnson