President's Message: Victory with Guaranteed Viable Curriculum

One of the biggest topics of discussion this fall has been the District’s Guaranteed Viable Curriculum—GVC for short. PAT members have made it clear what is and what isn’t working with the GVC, whether by responding to our GVC survey, testifying at the PAT-PPS Instructional and Professional Council, or writing up personal stories.

Our expectation has been simple—PPS needs to comply with our contract, which states in Article 8, section 11:

“…The District shall provide professional educators with related core instructional materials and an opportunity for in-service before requiring implementation of new adoptions, programs or curricula.”

As a direct result of your advocacy, the District has agreed to correct course.

Yvonne Curtis sent out an email to all PPS staff yesterday about the status of the GVC. The same message was sent to teachers and principals. The letter states that the District’s “desire is to be supportive in our instructional guidance, not prescriptive.”

In other words, if the GVC is helpful to you, use it. If not, you are not being directed by the district to use it.

The letter goes on to clarify that rather than the GVC educators may “utilize previously developed scope and sequence and/or curriculum map this school year.”  This means that if you have already developed a year-long plan that aligns to standards, you can go on using it this year.

While this clarification may not resolve all the stress and workload issues related to the GVC, it is a concrete step in the right direction. You made clear to the District what our contract says in Article 2 Section 10.1.3:

“The parties agree that sufficient professional development, adequate resources and a clear implementation plan are essential to success of initiatives.”

Of course, good teaching is built around a year-long plan and tied to standards. In order for any new initiative to be successful, it has to supported with time and resources.

No new curriculum or scope and sequence will produce better outcomes for students if educators don’t have the time to understand it, tailor it their specific school community and students, or integrate it into their classroom culture. Above all, teacher voice and continued professional feedback is essential to any successful implementation plan.

Congratulations, once again, for demonstrating the power we have when we stand together.

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen 
PAT President