603 Instruction Curriculum

603.1 Basic Instruction Program

The basic instruction program shall include the courses required for each grade level by the State Department of Education. The instructional approach will be nonsexist and multicultural.


The board may, in its discretion, offer additional courses in the instruction program for any grade level.


Each instruction program shall be planned for optimal benefit taking into consideration the financial condition of the school district and other factors deemed relevant by the board or superintendent. Each instruction program’s plan should describe the program, its goals, the effective materials, the activities and the method for student evaluation.



Legal Reference:                    20 U.S.C. § 1232h (1988).

                                                34 C.F.R. Pt. 98 (1993).

                                                Iowa Code §§ 216.9; 256.11; 279.8; 280.3-.14.

                                                281 I.A.C. 12.5.


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 01/18/2017   

603.2 Summer School Instruction

Generally, only Driver’s Education will be offered during summer school. However, the board, in its discretion, may offer summer school for one or more courses and student activities for students who need additional assistance and instruction or for enrichment in those areas.


Upon receiving a request for summer school, the board shall weigh the benefit to the students and the school district as well as the school district’s budget and availability of certified employees to conduct summer school. The decision whether the school district will offer summer school shall be within the discretion of the board.



Legal Reference:                    Iowa Code §§ 279.8, .11; 280.3, .14; 282.1A, .6.


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 01/18/2017   

603.3 Special Education

The board recognizes some students have different educational needs than other students. The board shall provide a free appropriate public education program and related services, in the least restrictive environment, to students identified in need of special education. The special education services will be provided from birth until the appropriate education is completed, age twenty-one or to maximum age allowable in accordance with the law. Students requiring special education shall attend general education classes, participate in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities and receive services in a general education setting to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of each individual student.


The appropriate education for each student shall be written in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Special education students shall be required to meet the requirements stated in board policy or in their IEPs for graduation.  It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent and the area education agency director of special education to provide or make provisions for appropriate special education and related services. 


Children from birth through age 2 and children age 3 through 5 shall be provided comprehensive special education services within the public education system. The school district shall work in conjunction with the area education agency to provide services, at the earliest appropriate time, to children with disabilities from birth through age 2. This shall be done to ensure a smooth transition of children entitled to early childhood special education services.



Legal Reference:                   

Board of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982).

Springdale School District #50 v. Grace, 693 F.2d 41 (8th Cir. 1982).

Southeast Warren Comm. School District v. Dept. of Public Instruction, 285 N.W.2d 173 (Iowa 1979).

20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq. (1988).

34 C.F.R. Pt. 300 et seq. (1993).

Iowa Code §§ 256.11(7); 256B; 273.1, .2, .5. .9 (2)-(3); 280.8.

281 I.A.C. 41.


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017       Revised 05/21/2012   

603.4 Multicultural and Gender Fair Education

Students will have an equal opportunity for a quality education without discrimination, regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic status, color, sex, marital status, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.


The educational program shall be free of such discrimination and provide equal opportunity for the students and will foster knowledge of and respect and appreciation for, the historical and contemporary contributions of diverse cultural groups, as well as men and women, to society. It shall also reflect the wide variety of roles open to both men and women and provide equal opportunity to both sexes.



Legal Reference:        Iowa Code §§216.9; 256.11.

                                    281 Iowa Admin. Code 12.5(8).


Approved   05/15/95       Reviewed 01/18/2017       Revised 01/18/2017 

603.5 Health Education

Students shall receive, as part of their health education, instruction about personal health; food and nutrition; environmental health; safety and survival skills; consumer health; family life; human growth and development; substance abuse and non-use, including the effects of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and poisons on the human body; human sexuality; self-esteem; stress management; interpersonal relationships; emotional and social health; health resources; prevention and control of disease; communicable diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome; and current crucial health issues. The purpose of the health education program is to help each student protect, improve and maintain physical, emotional and social well-being.


The instruction shall be adapted at each grade level to aid understanding by the students.


Parents who object to health education instruction in human growth and development and/or human sexuality may file a written request that the student be excused from the instruction. The written request shall include a proposed alternate activity or study acceptable to the superintendent. The superintendent shall have the final authority to determine the alternate activity or study.



Legal Reference:                    Iowa Code §§ 256.11; 279.8; 280.3-.14.

                                                281 I.A.C. 12.5


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 01/18/2017   

603.6 Physical Education

Students in grades one through twelve shall be required to participate in physical education courses unless they are excused by the principal of their attendance center.


Students may be excused from physical education courses if the student presents a written statement from a doctor stating that such activities could be injurious to the health of the student or the student has been exempted because of a conflict with the student’s religious beliefs provided such excuse fits within federal and state laws.


Students in grades 9-12 may also be excused from physical education courses if the student is enrolled in academic courses not otherwise available or the student has obtained a physical education waiver for a semester because the student is actively involved in an athletic program.


Twelfth grade students may also be excused from physical education courses if the student is enrolled in a cooperative, work study or other educational program authorized by the school which requires the student’s absence from school.


Students who will not participate in physical education must have a written request or statement from their parents.



Legal Reference:                    Iowa Code §§ 256.11.

                                                281 I.A.C. 12.5.


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 06/20/2011   

603.7 Career Education

Preparing students for careers is one goal of the education program. Career education will be written into the education program for grades kindergarten through twelve. This education shall include, but not be limited to, awareness of self in relation to others and the needs of society, exploration of employment opportunities, experiences in personal decision-making, and experiences of integrating work values and work skills into their lives.


It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent or designee to assist certified employees in finding ways to provide career education in the education program. Special attention should be given to courses of vocational education nature. The board, in its review of the curriculum, shall review the means in which career education is combined with other instructional programs.



Legal Reference:                    Iowa Code §§ 256.11, .11A; 280.9.

                                                281 I.A.C. 12.5(7).


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 01/18/2017   

603.8 Teaching About Religion

The school district is required to keep the practice of religion out of the school curriculum. The board recognizes the key role religion has played in the history of the world and authorizes the study of religious history and traditions as part of the curriculum. Preferential or derogatory treatment of a single religion shall not take place.


It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent to ensure the study of religion in the schools in keeping with the following guidelines:

  • the proposed activity must have a secular purpose;
  • the primary objective of the activity must not be one that advances or inhibits religion; and
  • the activity must not foster excessive governmental entanglement with religion.



Legal Reference:                   

U.S. Const. amend. I.

Lee v. Weisman. 112 S. Ct. 2649 (1992).

Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).

Graham v. Central Community School District of Decatur County, 608 F.Supp. 531 (S.D. Iowa 1985).

Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.6.


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 05/19/97   

603.8R1 Teaching About Religion Regulation - Religious Holidays

The historical and contemporary significance of religious holidays may be included in the education program provided that the instruction is presented in an unbiased and objective manner. The selection of holidays to be studied shall take into account major celebrations of several world religions, not just those of a single religion. Holiday-related activities shall be educationally sound and sensitive to religious differences and shall be selected carefully to avoid the excessive or unproductive use of school time. Teachers shall be especially careful in planning activities that are to take place immediately preceding or on a religious holiday.


Music, art, literature and drama having religious themes (including traditional carols, seasonal songs and classical music) shall be permitted if presented in an objective manner without sectarian indoctrination. The emphasis on religious themes shall be only as extensive as necessary for a balanced and comprehensive study or presentation. Religious content included in student performances shall be selected on the basis of its independent educational merit and shall seek to give exposure to a variety of religious customs, beliefs and forms of expression. Holiday programs, parties or performances shall not become religious celebrations or be used as forum for religious worship, such as the devotional reading of sacred writings or the recitations of prayers.


The use of religious symbols (e.g. a cross, menorah, crescent, Star of David, lotus blossom, nativity scene or other symbol that is part of a religious ceremony) shall be permitted as a teaching aid, but only when such symbols are used temporarily and objectively to give information about a heritage associated with a particular religion. The Christmas tree, Santa Claus, Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Halloween decorations are secular, seasonal symbols and as such can be displayed in a seasonal context.


Expressions of belief or non-belief initiated by individual students shall be permitted in composition, art forms, music, speech and debate. However, teachers may not require projects or activities which are indoctrination or force students to contradict their personal religious beliefs or non-beliefs.


Approved   05/19/97       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised            

603.9 Academic Freedom

The board believes students should have an opportunity to reach their own decisions and beliefs about conflicting points of view. Academic freedom is the opportunity of certified employees and students to study, investigate, present, interpret, and discuss facts and ideas relevant to the subject matter of the classroom and appropriate to and in good taste with the maturity and intellectual and emotional capacities of the students.


It shall be the responsibility of the teacher to refrain from advocating partisan causes, sectarian religious views, or biased positions in the classroom or through teaching methods. Teachers are not discouraged from expressing personal opinions as long as students are aware it is a personal opinion and students are allowed to reach their own conclusions independently.


It shall be the responsibility of the principal to ensure academic freedom is allowed but not abused in the classroom.


Legal Reference:                    Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.3, .6.


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 01/18/2017   

603.9R1 Teaching Controversial Issues

A “controversial issue” is a topic of significant academic inquiry about which substantial groups of citizens of this community, this state or this nation hold sincere, conflicting points of view.


It is the belief of the board that controversial issues should be fairly presented in a spirit of honest academic freedom so that students may recognize the validity of other points of view but can also learn to formulate their own opinions based upon dispassionate, objective, unbiased study and discussion of the facts related to the controversy.


It shall be the responsibility of the teacher to present full and fair opportunity and means for students to study, consider and discuss all sides of controversial issues including, but not limited to, political philosophies.


It shall be the responsibility of the teacher to protect the right of the student to study pertinent controversial issues within the limits of good taste and to allow the student to express personal opinions without jeopardizing the student’s relationship with the teacher.


It shall be the responsibility of the teacher to refrain from advocating partisan causes, sectarian religious views, or selfish propaganda of any kind through any classroom or school device; however, a teacher shall not be prohibited from expressing a personal opinion as long as students are encouraged to reach their own decisions independently.


The board encourages full discussion of controversial issues in a spirit of academic freedom that shows students that they have the right to disagree with the opinions of others but that they also have the responsibility to base the disagreement on facts and to respect the right of others to hold conflicting opinions.


Approved   05/19/97       Reviewed 01/18/2017      Revised 06/20/2011 

603.11 Citizenship

Being a citizen of the United States, of Iowa and of the school district community entitles students to special privileges and protections as well as requiring the students to assume civic, economic and social responsibilities and to participate in their country, state and school district community in a manner that entitles them to keep these rights and privileges.


As part of the education program, students will have an opportunity to learn about their rights, privileges, and responsibilities as citizens of this country, state and school district community. As part of this learning opportunity students are instructed in the elements of good citizenship and the role quality citizens play in their country, state and school district community.



Legal Reference:                    Iowa Code §§ 256.11, .11A.

                                                281 I.A.C. 12.3(8).


Approved   03/25/91       Reviewed 01/18/2017     Revised 11/20/06