Seattle Public Schools

2020 Waiver of Core and Extended Core Instructional Materials

It is the policy of Seattle Public Schools to adopt instructional materials, as set forth in School Board Policy No. 2015. Instructional materials are intended to be research and evidence based, and appropriate for all students. 

In some instances, a school may wish to use alternative instructional materials as the instructional materials, rather than the School Board-adopted instructional materials.  A school’s decision to implement alternative instructional material is different from the use of supplementary material (covered by Policy No. 2015 and Superintendent Procedure 2015 SP.C) and is intended to fully replace the Board-adopted instructional material as part of a coherent, building-based curriculum plan. The purpose of allowing instructional material waivers is to encourage innovation in buildings and to allow schools to customize a student’s experience. 

In the cases where a school wishes to use an alternative instructional material, the school must apply to the Superintendent for a waiver. The waiver request must: 

  • Include evidence that the proposed alternative instructional material meets district and state standards, and is research and evidence based; and 
  • Clearly state the rationale for using different materials and explain how the requested materials will both raise overall achievement and close the achievement gap; and 
  • Indicate how the school staff and community has been involved in making the recommendation to use alternative instructional materials, including information on how the school-based decision matrix was used in this process and evidence that staff have agreed to implement the alternative materials fully; and 
  • Indicate how the waiver materials will be rolled out school-wide, including the professional development plan; and 
  • Identify district, school-based, or grant, or other funding that will be used to support the purchase, upkeep, training and on-going professional development on these materials 

Schools for which a waiver is granted must take all relevant district and state assessments, and must, on average over the 3-year waiver period, meet or exceed the gains demonstrated by peer schools that are using the district-adopted materials for all segments of their population in order to continue using the alternative instructional materials. 

The Chief Academic Officer or equivalent position will ensure that a waiver petition process is established that ensures that decisions are made in a timely way to allow reasonable purchase, training and development of new curriculum materials. A waiver request must be completed by the Principal of the school and submitted to the Director of Schools (DS) or equivalent position. The DS shall review the request and make a recommendation to the Chief Academic Officer. The Chief Academic Officer shall review the request and the recommendation of the DS and make a recommendation to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall review all materials and make a decision on the request.  If denied, the school principal may appeal the decision to the School Board. The Superintendent shall keep a public record of all approved waivers, including waivers approved by the School Board. 

Approved waivers shall be granted for a 3-year period, after which the school’s data and continued interest in the waiver will be assessed. The Superintendent shall have the final decision about revoking the waiver or continuing it for another 3-year term. If a waiver is revoked the school will be required to return to district-adopted materials. 

The Superintendent shall annually inform the School Board about the number and type of waivers requested and the disposition, including rationale, of those requests.  The Superintendent or designee shall inform the School Board if and when the use of alternative materials becomes widespread for a particular content area and grade level.  

The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures to implement this policy.