Outside Reading Policy
For Grades 7-12
Purpose and Selection
Reading assigned in addition to board-adopted materials is considered “outside reading.” This category includes, but is not limited to, class study of novels/non-fiction books, small group reading of novels/non-fiction books, individual reading of novels/non-fiction books, and summer reading assignments. This category also includes books of which major portions are read, but which are not read in their entirety. It does not include newspaper or magazine articles or information obtained from Internet sources.
The purpose of outside reading is to enrich and support the curriculum standards at a level appropriate for the students in a given grade. Teachers may assign outside reading from the options approved by the Curriculum Development/Materials Selection Committee, which reviews the content and materials for each subject area once every six years. Whenever practical and appropriate, students should be given options from which to choose their outside reading.
Any additions or changes in approved outside reading between curriculum revisions must be recommended by the entire department and approved by the department chairman, principal, and director of instruction.
Reconsideration of Outside Reading Materials
Occasional objections to instructional materials in a course may occur despite the quality of the selection process. Objections to materials may be expressed by the parent or guardian of a child in the grade or course through the process outlined below. If such an objection occurs, the teacher, department chair, and principal will work with the family to determine an acceptable alternate assignment. If an agreement cannot be reached, the process outlined below will begin:
1. Principal/department chair will explain the selection process and reconsideration procedure to the person expressing concern.
2. The principal/department chair will give the person expressing the concern a copy of the Outside Reading Policy and request that the person submit the form “Request for Formal Review of Outside Reading Materials.”
3. The principal/department chair will inform the superintendent and other appropriate personnel of the concern.
4. Upon receipt of the completed form, the principal/department chair will acknowledge the concern with a letter and will request review of the challenged material by an ad hoc review committee within twenty working days. The review committee will be appointed as needed by the superintendent. The committee will consist of three parents, two teachers, one library media specialist, and one principal. The director of instruction will serve as the non-voting chair of the committee.
5. The challenged material will continue to be a part of the course during the reconsideration process.
6. The committee will take the following steps to review the challenged material:
a. read, view, or listen to the material in its entirety
b. check general acceptance of the material by reading reviews and consulting lists
c. determine the extent to which the material supports the curriculum
d. complete the appropriate form, “Checklist for Outside Reading Committee,” judging the material for its strength and value as a whole and not in part.
7. The recommendation of the review committee will be determined by a majority of the committee voting by secret ballot.
8. The review committee will present a written recommendation to the principal/department chair, who will communicate the committee’s decision to the person expressing the concern, and to the superintendent.
9. If the person expressing the concern wishes to appeal the decision of the Outside Reading Review Committee, a written request should be submitted to the superintendent within 10 working days of notification of the decision by the review committee.
10. The Mountain Brook Board of Education will convene to address the appeal. The Board will review the material, the “Request for Formal Review,” and the recommendation of the review committee. The decision will be determined by a majority of the Board.
11. The superintendent will communicate the Board’s final decision in writing to the person expressing the concern, the principal, and the review committee.
12. The teacher(s) will retain or withdraw the challenged material as recommended by the review committee or, in the case of an appeal, as decided by the Board of Education.
Adopted: August 8, 2005