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FWCS board approves purchase of textbooks

District leaders gave the go-ahead Monday on textbooks for several subjects that teachers will use to educate Fort Wayne Community Schools students over the next six years.

Local officials gave the approval for the new texts hours after the state Board of Education gave final approval to new K-12 education standards.

FWCS board members voted Monday to adopt textbooks for 2014 to 2020 for use in grades 6 to 12 for English, world language and theatre classes.

Board members also approved English as a second language materials for students in kindergarten through grade 12.

All of the textbooks approved Monday will also be available online, FWCS Curriculum Director Natalie Brewer said.

Students who are approved for the free lunch program are also eligible for free textbooks, officials said.

The state standards determine what students are expected to learn at each grade level.

Classroom textbooks and curriculum are set by individual school districts.

“The standards are the first part. The curriculum, which would include things like book lists and how we implement those, are determined locally,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson said. “So what we’re going to have to do is use the guidelines the state produces and they don’t have all of those things yet.”

In 2011, state lawmakers revised statutes related to textbook adoption and said with the exception of reading, the State Board of Education would no longer produce a list of approved textbooks.

Instead, school districts form textbook adoption committees comprised of teachers from each school and parents, Brewer said.

While the committee worked to compile a list of textbooks, the committee also waited for a response from the state about the future of Indiana’s academic standards.

Although the state’s decision didn’t come until Monday, the committee used components from both the current academic standards and the proposed Common Core standards so the texts would meet standards either way, Brewer explained.

“The standards that were just approved are very similar to both of those,” she said.