December 1, 2021
When we consider the lives of our students, we realize how much has changed since we were in their shoes, especially with rapidly changing technology. Students are immersed in information because it is constantly at their fingertips. When used responsibly and with guidance, this can be wonderful for curious, inquisitive minds who want to learn. On the other hand, many students look online for answers and advice before they even think to ask a parent or teacher. We know that some students, especially those who don’t have safeguards in place, can access unfiltered content and share it with their peers. Also, unfortunately, for every search filter, parental control setting, or restricted and supervised use, there is a way to get around it, making online activity difficult to monitor.
These challenges make it more complicated than ever to navigate childhood and adolescence, and they have forever changed the landscape of modern parenting. Given this reality, we realize the need to re-evaluate our curriculum and our instruction. We need to help students critically evaluate the information that they may discover on their own, whether accidentally or intentionally. We need to encourage thoughtful dialogue with parents and teachers who can guide them in understanding. And we need to support young people in developing critical thinking skills and accessing reliable information. This is true across all subject areas, but it feels especially urgent in the area of health, where the questions and topics can directly, powerfully impact students’ decisions, lives and futures.
With this in mind, KIBSD is embarking on a two-year review process of our health curriculum. This review will be less focused on textbooks and more focused on how schools and families can help create healthy kids. Because health is a multi-faceted subject and includes everything from mental health to nutrition, we will look at nine different areas over the course of this review process, while also considering how they best fit together. Starting in January, we will begin examining the first five. Our goal is to create a comprehensive program that encourages discussion and strong family partnerships, a program that is customized to the unique needs of our community and students.
We know that families are their children’s first and most important teachers, and we know that the success of this process depends upon our close collaboration and shared goals. We hope you will consider joining us in developing a program that helps our youth navigate these issues with solid information and critical dialogue. Attached to this letter, you will find the application and meeting schedules for the subcommittees. Thank you for helping us rise to respond to the needs of our students and ensure that they are receiving a relevant, empowering education that meets the challenges of today’s world.