District Chooses New Learning Provider

At its Sept. 8 meeting the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to use Edmentum as its new 2020-2021 Remote Learning Program curriculum provider. The Board also voted to discontinue using Acellus, the district’s curriculum provider at the beginning of the school year.

AUSD will use Edmentum’s Exact Path (kindergarten through fifth graders) and Courseware (sixth to 12th graders) programs.

AUSD chief academic officer, Sara Stone, said her staff recommended Edmentum to the Board because it met AUSD’s educational needs by providing Advanced Placement, Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards and University of California A-G requirement courses; was affordable and easy to use. Stone also said staff reviewed Edmentum’s guidelines for inspecting its curriculum for stereotypes, tokenism and other types of implicit or explicit bias.

“There was a lot more data to support that it was more aligned with what are needs were,” said Stone at the AUSD board meeting. “They definitely have an equity lens. They’re actually partnering with Teaching Tolerance and have done a lot of work with their own staff at Edmentum to think about how they’re choosing curriculum.”

Teaching Tolerance is an educational program that provides free classroom resources that promote social justice and anti-bias to educators.

AUSD canceled its contract with Acellus after hearing it was pulled from schools in Hawaii due to inappropriate learning curriculum that promoted racist, sexist and homophobic biases. On Aug. 31, AUSD sent an email to parents notifying them that AUSD was in the process of obtaining a new curriculum provider for the Remote Learning Program.

“The curriculum that we had chosen to use proved to be problematic, offensive and in many cases racist, sexist, and otherwise misaligned with our community,” said AUSD Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi at the board meeting.

In response, AUSD took a larger role in vetting the new educational provider.
“We need to take this experience and develop our own local set of metrics, rubrics and models in how we evaluate curriculum,” said Scuderi.

AUSD created an equity model. This model assesses materials for its depictions of stereotypes, whether it promotes certain racial “standards for success,” and who the heroes are in the story lessons. AUSD also watched for loaded words and self-image portrayals.

AUSD chose Edmentum out of four potential online educational providers. Teachers were introduced to Edmentum on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and reviewed the video to better understand the program. AUSD expects it will take five to 10 days to set up Edmentum and train teachers. Edmentum officials will provide personal training to AUSD teachers via Zoom. Parents will be able to also learn about the new curriculum and offer feedback to AUSD in the future.

The Remote Learning Program was offered to students who wanted to take part in online-only schooling during the 2020-2021 school year. Other students were given the opportunity to sign up for the Flexible Learning Program, which intends to return to in-person schooling once approved by county health officials.

Edmentum is an online educational program based in Minnesota, with California-based curriculum, that began in 1960