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Guest Opinion

Adams is qualified and his contract gives Pennridge control


As Pennridge School Board curriculum committee chair, it’s my responsibility to participate in planning and agenda setting meetings to be sure agenda items are ready to present at the following public curriculum committee meeting. We often loop in board leadership.

Regarding the pay structure for Jordan Adams, unlike all previous consulting contracts that were brought forth by the administration over the years without question, his contract guarantees him no hours or minimum payments and costs less than 1/6 of the hourly rate of the other contracts. He can only charge for work assigned to him and we can stop assigning him work or discontinue his work at any time. The contract is completely written to the benefit of the district.

Also unlike any prior consultant, Adams has provided detailed and thorough updates on his work with progress reports, even as lengthy as his 16-page June progress report and 25-page presentation. We never received any of that information from prior consultants. We are expecting a thorough report as this moves to the next curriculum committee meeting.

Some have attributed Adams’s entry to a proposal to eliminate supervisor positions. Though I understand why people are connecting the two issues, they were actually unrelated.

The administration has clearly articulated that supervisors do not write curriculum. Their primary responsibility is supervising and evaluating teachers. Many board members felt our resources would be more effectively utilized by adding teaching assistants to push into the classrooms and pull small groups of students based on formative assessments and individual needs to increase academic growth.

Through further discussion with the administration, including the supervisors, we have shared ways in which we can more effectively utilize their expertise with a more hands-on approach to curriculum development. That is currently happening with the collaboration of Adams.

Comments have also been made about Adams not being certified in Pennsylvania to be a supervisor. He was never hired to supervise and evaluate staff so that certification is irrelevant. What is relevant is his expertise surrounding curriculum.

Jordan Adams has over a decade of experience in education. He has Masters Degree in Humanities with a concentration in Philosophy, Ancient World, and English and Literature. He has a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, and a Minor in Latin.

He was a certified teacher for middle school for all content areas in Texas where he taught 6th grade Reading and Language Arts, 7th grade American History, 8th grade American History and Civics, and 6th grade Latin. He then moved to Minnesota where he taught 8th grade World History, 11th grade World History, 12th grade Government, Civics, and Economics, and he taught Latin in 3rd through 6th grade.

He then became an Instructional Coach for Hillsdale College-K-12-education. After that, he served as a civic education specialist where he oversaw civics and history in education. Most recently, he was the acting director of curriculum, overseeing all curriculum review and development K-12. He has now gone out on his own as a curriculum consultant and founder of Vermilion to advise and support districts with curriculum development, review, and training.

Through Vermilion, he was recently hired by the South Dakota Department of Education to train teachers on the implementation of new social studies standards.

It was also published that the change in social studies graduation credit requirements from four credits to three caused the need for curriculum revision. That is not the case. Our fourth credit was an elective social studies credit, not a specific required course. The change simply opened that elective up to other content areas for students who didn’t have room to take courses needed for their pathways.

The in-depth review of social studies content coverage and alignment compared to top-performing high schools did, however, reveal that we had redundancy in history courses at the high school, but did not have a strong focus on government, economics and civics, which had been a priority expressed by board and community members.

The elementary curriculum was already being developed and the administration was tasked with strengthening the content and vertical alignment of the curriculum up through 11th grade. That included the addition of a Government, Economics, and Civics course.

As part of that plan, there was direction to ensure we have a rigorous unbiased and nonpartisan curriculum where students are presented the facts and taught to think critically and come to their own conclusions rather than being told what to think.

Jordan Blomgren is a Pennridge School Board Director and the chair of the board’s curriculum committee.

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