Commitment to Student Learning
our mission statement
As a responsible partner with our families and communities, we provide a distinct educational edge that prepares all learners to be successful and contributing members in our global society.
As a public school district we have the responsibility to educate all of our students. In recent history, legislation such as No Child Left Behind has increased our national commitment to address gaps in student achievement so that all students, regardless of their background, reach proficiency in the standards. We have and will continue to focus on eliminating these gaps.
Every student in our school district is a unique individual, shaped by many factors in their lives. These factors, which are beyond individual student control, lead to gaps in educational performance. We see gaps between students with disabilities and students who are not disabled; gaps between students who are economically disadvantaged and those who are not; and gaps resulting from a person’s protected class and other experiences and circumstances. The district’s approach to equity is about providing each student what they need to close these gaps.
The employees and volunteers of USDD support and are inclusive of students, staff and families of all races, ethnicities, faiths, national origins, immigration statuses, political viewpoints, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities. We need to have a better understanding of our students, the issues that are impeding their education, and the support we can put in place so that all our students have success. This includes selecting curriculum materials that represent all our students; allocating resources and planning professional development for staff; and delivering instruction and learning opportunities that meet the specific needs of all our students. We believe this will result in an inclusive learning environment where all students can learn and thrive. As with all of our curriculum materials, parents are welcome to review instructional resources.
Guidelines for Complex Topics and Respectful Dialogue
Instructional Goals and Guidelines
Consistent with our mission, we will prepare our learners to be successful and contributing members in our global society. We will equip students with the skills to understand complex issues from perspectives that may be different from their own, and to communicate and work with others from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
As students study historical or contemporary issues in our world, our priority is to approach the study through unbiased inquiry, supporting the well-being of all students and staff. Each student deserves a respectful and welcoming learning environment in which to thrive. Our classrooms will provide structured community space for students to discuss and analyze history and current events and to think critically about the world around them.
The following guidelines direct our approach to these topics:
- Teach topics that are relevant to the curriculum and aligned to the Wisconsin Academic Standards.
- Consider the chronological and emotional maturity of students.
- Provide access to diverse materials.
- Present varied sources of information to clarify multiple points of view.
- Facilitate discussions that encourage multiple opinions and respectful dialogue
- Use questions and other strategies to allow students to clarify their perspectives
- Teach student skills in active listening and respectful dialogue
- Establish shared classroom norms and expectations to treat each other with dignity and respect
We teach students the following skills (taken from Wisconsin Academic Standards and Wisconsin Social Emotional Learning Competencies):
- Listen to perspectives from people who have different backgrounds and viewpoints from their own
- Listen critically, think critically to analyze their own perspective, and to make their own decisions/form their own opinions
- Comprehend as well as critique as engaged and open-minded—but discerning—readers and listeners.
- Evaluate, use and cite specific evidence from reliable sources when interpreting texts and supporting discussion points, as well as constructively evaluating others’ use of evidence and sources.
- Understand and appreciate other perspectives and diverse cultures.
- Demonstrate independence by comprehending and evaluating complex texts, constructing effective arguments and effectively conveying information.
- Encourage students to discuss complex topics with their parents.
We will not:
- Share our own opinions on complex topics in an attempt to persuade students to a particular point of view.
- Allow degradation of various viewpoints through insults, put downs, the use of stereotypes or discriminatory statements.
- Assess students on their opinions. Rather, they will be assessed on how they construct, support and communicate their perspective.
Reference to Board Policy 2240